The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is in search of a new leader, following the departure of CEO Wayne Pacelle.

Pacelle’s resignation followed allegations that he had sexually harassed three women working for the animal rights organization.

Since that happened, I’ve noticed other people commenting about the irony of an organization that claims it is working for the best possible treatment of animals but yet has not been so focused on the proper treatment of people, which are also part of the animal kingdom.

Granted, these are only allegations against Pacelle and we must keep in mind the principle of innocent until proven guilty, but the damage has been done to the image of HSUS — and when your organization depends on donations in order to stay in operation, image is everything.

Still, it reminds me of something I heard Suidae Health and Production’s Jeff Kayser say at the 2016 Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit. Kayser told attendees about the importance of having policies and practices in place to help prevent animal abuse situations from happening. One thing Kayser spoke of was the process of hiring people who will be working with animals. Background checks on job candidates is imperative for the swine health company.

“If a candidate has a history of abusing or harassing another human being, we won’t hire them, because if they’ll do it to a human, they’ll likely to do it to an animal,” he said.

Let that soak in.

A chance for HSUS to change its image

In a perfect world, HSUS would choose a person to succeed Pacelle who will fit Suidae’s criteria and will instill such a culture with HSUS.

After all, HSUS does not necessarily have a squeaky-clean image.

The organization has been accused of:

  • Organizing protests and hounding companies until they commit to HSUS agendas such as cage-free eggs and crate-free pork
  • Deceptive measures in fundraising efforts, giving unsuspecting potential donors the impression that they will be contributing to animal shelters
  • Having representatives obtain employment at animal agriculture operations with the intent of doing undercover videos, and in cases where animal mistreatment occurs, doing nothing to stop the mistreatment from occurring and instead filming it for self-serving reasons

None of those three things the organization has allegedly done are examples of how to treat another human, and the third is certainly not an example of how to treat animals.

If HSUS wants to have credibility as an animal welfare organization, it must, first, follow the example of Suidae and hire a CEO who believes in both treating humans and animals properly, and second, expect all of its employees to do the same.

Sadly, it is not a perfect world, and HSUS may not seek such credibility.