The Humane Society of the United States has bestowed its highest honor, the Joseph Wood Krutch Medal, on Anita W. Coupe of Biddeford Pool, Maine, and David O. Wiebers, M.D., of Overland Park, Kan. Coupe and Wiebers served as the fifth and sixth chairs of the board of directors of The HSUS.
HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle and Board Vice Chair Jennifer Leaning presented the awards to Coupe and Wiebers at the conclusion of a meeting of the HSUS Board of Directors in Florida.
Both Coupe and Wiebers joined the HSUS Board in 1992. “The contributions of Anita Coupe and David Wiebers to the work of The Humane Society of the United States during the last two decades have been immense,” Pacelle said. “They have helped us to become one of the top 200 charities and the largest animal protection organization in the nation, and through their leadership have demonstrated civic engagement and volunteerism of the first order.”
Coupe, a former partner in the law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, and an accomplished corporate attorney specializing in labor and employment law, was the first woman to chair the Board of The HSUS. During Coupe’s four year tenure as chair (2008-2012), The HSUS expanded its work to rescue animals from cruelty, and launched two new horse rescue facilities in Oregon and Texas. The group also secured landmark successes including the passage of California’s Proposition 2 to phase out the extreme confinement of farm animals, an agreement with agricultural leaders in Ohio to support a package of animal welfare reforms in the state, corporate policy breakthroughs with McDonald’s, Wendy’s and others to improve the treatment of animals in their food supply chains, the passage of federal legislation on “crush” videos, animal fighting, puppy mill imports, shark finning, and fur labeling, and an agreement with the United Egg Producers to jointly advocate for a national law improving the welfare of egg-laying hens.
Wiebers is emeritus professor of neurology and former division chair at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he was a leading clinician, teacher and clinical researcher for three decades. During Wiebers’ nine year tenure as chair (1999-2008), The HSUS tripled its revenues and quadrupled its assets, transitioned to new executive leadership, and engineered a number of corporate unions that greatly strengthened the organization, joining forces with The Fund for Animals, the Doris Day Animal League, and the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (now the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association). Throughout his tenure, Wiebers has been committed to building bridges between the medical and animal protection communities. During his tenure, The HSUS stepped boldly into the domain of reform of factory farming, passing ballot measures to stop extreme confinement of animals in Arizona and Florida; launched a global campaign to halt Canada’s seal hunt; and fortified state and federal laws against animal fighting, outlawing cockfighting in the last two states where it was legal and helping to enact a federal law to making to make all animal fighting a federal felony.
A distinguished public intellectual who devoted his last years to defending nature and animals, Joseph Wood Krutch (1893-1970) epitomized the commitment to celebrating animals and confronting cruelty that has motivated The HSUS since its founding in 1954. In 1971, The HSUS commissioned distinguished medalist Ralph J. Menconi to design and sculpt a medal that, invoking Krutch's memory, recognizes individuals who have made a “significant contribution toward the improvement of life and the environment.”
Previous recipients of the Krutch Medal have included Joy Adamson, Sen. Robert Byrd, Dian Fossey, Jane Goodall, Temple Grandin, James Herriot, Rep. Tom Lantos, Richard Leakey and Roger Tory Peterson.
- Media Relations