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Executive Director of GFAS Admits to Love of Money as Motive

By Aya Katz

In a rare moment of candor, Kellie Heckman, the Executive Director of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) admitted that the motivation of most animal welfare advocates is the love of money. The admission occurred at the USDA/APHIS “Lions, Tigers and Bears Symposium” held July 8 – 9, 2014. It is only only on August 20, 201, however, when this video was released showing the unedited footage from the conference, side by side by the edited version released by GFAS.


GFAS Executive Director Kellie Heckman admitting motive for animal welfare is the love of money
Here is exactly what Ms. Heckman said: You know, most of us came into the animal welfare business, you know, for one reason: It’s because we love money.” When she realized what she had said, Ms. Heckman was a little flustered and people in the crowd could be heard saying “wow!” Later, when the video of Ms. Heckman’s talk was posted online, her statement about the love of money was edited out.

GFAS is a nonprofit organization founded in 1993. It is based in Tzaneen, South Africa, so arguably it is not even an American charity. However, this organization has taken on itself the accreditation of all animal sanctuaries, and it has direct ties with the USDA’s arm for animal and plant health inspection, APHIS.  This governmental entity in the United States has the power to make or break any business or organization dealing in animals, whether these animals are used for agriculture, as research subjects or for any other purpose.

Over the past quarter century, breeders of domesticated animals, such as dogs, horses, elephants and chimpanzees have come under increased pressure to stop their operations. Restrictions on the sale, breeding and displaying of such animals have been put into place. As businesses such as pet shops, circuses and carriage rides have been forced to shut down, countless nonprofits have sprung up to open shelters and sanctuaries to house the displaced animals . In order to do well financially, sanctuaries must seek accreditation with GFAS. There are even seminars explaining how to do so, like the one at which Ms. Heckman was a speaker. All of this is a very lucrative business and tax free.  People who are looking to adopt a dog or a cat are encouraged not to buy them from pet stores or breeders, but to look for them at a not-for-profit shelter, where they pay “adoption fees” instead of a purchase price. People who want to see other more exotic animals are encouraged to make tax free donations to sanctuaries. In this way, the connection between humans and other animals is transferred entirely into the nonprofit sector.

There are big winners and big losers in the animal welfare business. It is refreshing to finally be able to learn from the horse’s mouth that all this is being done for the love of money.

 

About The Author

Aya Katz
Writer

Aya Katz is a libertarian writer and activist. She is the author of Vacuum County, The Few Who Count, Theodosia and the Pirates and Our Lady of Kaifeng. With a background in both law and linguistics, and a current place in primatological research, Katz is uniquely placed to report on issues of interest to libertarians from the perspective of both the law and science.

3 Responses

  1. casubeyut

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