The American Humane Assn., the group charged with overseeing the welfare of animals on television and film sets, has tapped a new board chairman.
The charity said John Payne, who has served in top positions at Bayer Healthcare, Mars Global PetCare and Banfield Pet Hospitals, has been named chairman of the board of 136-year-old organization.
A well-known figure in the animal wellness and welfare sphere, Payne has more than 30 years experience in the industry.
“It is an honor to be elected to the board of an organization with such a rich history of protecting society’s most vulnerable,” Payne said in a statement. “Our work is vital in protecting hundreds of millions of children, pets, farm animals, service animals and animal actors from cruelty, abuse, and neglect. ... I look forward to working with my fellow board members and Dr. [Robin] Ganzert to further extend the organization’s reach and their position as the most respected voice in the animal and child welfare field.”
Payne is currently the chief executive and founder of Pet Health Innovations, LLC. He previously served as president and CEO of Medical Management International, Inc, which is the nation’s largest private veterinary practice with more than 800 full-service hospitals.
“John Payne will be a tremendous asset to our board and a powerful voice for the interests of children and animals,” AHA Chief Executive Robin Ganzert said in a statement. “His unparalleled experience, leadership skills and passion will help us expand our reach and aid us in our quest to improve the welfare of both animals and people. With his help, we will make great strides in our efforts to build a more compassionate world for all of us.”
Payne succeeds Eric Bruner, the controversial chairman who resigned in January three months after a report in the Los Angeles Times raised questions about financial ties between the AHA and Bruner’s business partner.
The film unit of the AHA each year monitors more than 2,000 productions that use animal performers and is mostly funded by grants, about $2 million a year, from industry cooperative funds for the Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA.
But the group has been dogged by criticism over the years from animal-rights activists and some of its staff for allegedly not doing enough to prevent the mistreatment of animals on sets. The AHA also provides various services to promote the welfare of children.