As we watch the television coverage of the presidential elections and read the newspapers articles and editorials, we often wonder which candidates care about animals.
The January 17, 2008 issue of Kinship Circle Newsletter (www.kinshipcircle.org) presented valuable information about who would potentially be an animal friendly administration. This blog gives you an overview of the candidates, their history in the area of animal protection, and their statements on the topic of pets.
Senator Hillary Clinton
In the current session of Congress, Senator Hillary Clinton was a co-sponsor of legislation dealing with horse slaughter and animal fighting, and she previously co-sponsored legislation to stop the processing of “downer” livestock and to crack down on abusive puppy mills where dogs are treated like production machines She led efforts in the 108th and 109th Congresses to stop the overuse of antibiotics in farm animals, which allow them to be crammed in overcrowded, stressful, unsanitary conditions on factory farms. She had a perfect 100 percent score on the Humane Scorecard in the 108th and 109th Congresses.
The Presidential Files: Discussing the Donkeys by Michael Markarian http://hslf.typepad.com/political_animal/2008/01/donkeys.html
Visit Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) Scorecard at www.fund.org/humanescorecard/
Note: Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. Michael Markarian is the president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization that lobbies for animal welfare legislation and works to elect humane-minded candidates to public office.
Senator Barack Obama
In the current session of Congress, Senator Barack Obama was a co-sponsor of measures to stop horse slaughter, upgrade the penalties for animal fighting, and crack down on dogfighting. Senator Obama has had a strong record for animals in both the Illinois State Senate and the U.S. Senate. Read more about his responses to the Humane Society Legislative Fund’s questionnaire in Michael Markarian’s longer entry, “Barack Obama and the Dog-acity of Hope
In his Humane Society of the United States questionnaire response, Senator Obama pledges support for nearly every animal protection bill currently pending in Congress, and says he will work with executive agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make their policies more humane.
Senator Obama on links between animal cruelty and violence in society:
"I've repeatedly voted to increase penalties for animal cruelty and violence and, importantly, to require psychological counseling for those who engage in this behavior... In addition to being unacceptable in its own stead, violence towards animals is linked with violent behavior in general, especially domestic violence... As president, I'd continue to make sure that we treat animal cruelty like the serious crime it is and address its connection to broader patterns of violence."
As Illinois State Senator:
Voted for at least a dozen animal protection laws that came up during that time. Supported measures: To allow creation of pet trusts for long-term care of companion animals; to upgrade penalties for cruelty to animals; to require psychological counseling for people who abuse animals; to require veterinarians report suspected acts of cruelty and animal fighting; to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption...
As U.S. Senator:
Voted to end federal funding of horse slaughter in 2005. Currently a co-sponsor of new legislation to stop horse slaughter and export of horses for human consumption. Co-sponsored legislation to upgrade federal penalties for dogfighting and cockfighting. Co-sponsor of new legislation to ban possession of fighting dogs and being a spectator at a dogfight. Signed letter requesting increased funds for enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and federal animal fighting law. Sent letter to National Zoo expressing concern for the care of Toni the elephant.
The Presidential Files: Barack Obama and the Dog-acity of Hope
READ MORE: http://hslf.typepad.com/political_animal/2007/12/the-president-3.html
Animal Rights Advocates for Obama
Governor Mike Huckabee
During Huckabee’s administration:
Arkansas lawmakers tried to pass legislation upgrading the state’s anti-cruelty law from misdemeanor to felony... They received no help from the governor, and were unsuccessful every time. Stymied by the legislative process, animal advocates collected signatures to place an anti-cruelty and anti-cockfighting measure on the statewide ballot in 2002.
All that came from Huckabee during the ballot campaign was a deafening silence. The measure went down in flames, largely because of a campaign run by the Arkansas Farm Bureau, Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, and Ducks Unlimited -- groups with which Huckabee associates himself -- falsely claiming this modest proposal to upgrade penalties for animal cruelty would have adversely impacted hunting, fishing, farming, and other Arkansas traditions...
Huckabee’s pandering to the sport hunting lobby:
November television ad in Iowa featured action star Chuck Norris, who stated, “Mike Huckabee is a lifelong hunter…” During a speech to the NRA in September, Huckabee...talked about shooting a bullet that was guided by angels to pierce an antelope, and exclaimed, “I’m pretty sure there will be duck hunting in heaven, and I can’t wait.” [Huckabee spent Christmas Day killing tame pheasants].
Senator John McCain
In the U.S. Senate:
Senator McCain has been a strong supporter of numerous animal welfare issues, earning scores of up to 75 percent on the Humane Scorecard. Voted for and co-sponsored legislation to stop horse slaughter. Voted to eliminate a $2 million subsidy for the mink industry. Co-sponsored bills to stop interstate shipment of birds for cockfighting and to stop poaching of bears by ending trade in their gall bladders and other viscera.
He took an anti-animal position by supporting an amendment to the California Desert Protection Act which would have allowed sport hunting in the Mojave National Park. A leader in effort to stop global warming. Opposes drilling for oil in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge...
The Presidential Files: Evaluating the Elephants
Governor Mitt Romney
Romney’s infamous 1983 vacation:
Romney attracted the ire of animal advocates when they learned that during a 1983 vacation, he put the family’s Irish setter, Seamus, in a carrier and strapped him to the roof rack of the station wagon. When the terrified dog urinated and defecated during the 12-hour drive, Romney pulled over, hosed down the dog, and continued the voyage from Boston to Ontario.
As chief executive of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City:
Romney also came under fire from animal protection groups for allowing a rodeo exhibition that included calf roping.
His term as governor:
Appointed a raft of animal-unfriendly people to the state Fisheries and Wildlife Board. He did, however, sign a bill passed in 2006 to strengthen the Massachusetts animal fighting law and prevent a convicted animal abuser from getting the animal back.
The Presidential Files: Evaluating the Elephants
His Record in Congress:
Driven by attitude that the federal government should not play a role in protecting animals from cruelty. Rep. Paul one of only 31 members of U.S. House of Representatives who voted against every single animal protection measure that came up for a vote in 2007.
Voted in March to keep federal penalties weak for dogfighting and cockfighting... Voted in April against restoring decades-old protections for wild horses and burros, instead opting to let them be sold for commercial slaughter. Voted in June to allow wealthy American trophy hunters to shoot polar bears in the Arctic and bring their heads and hides back home...
It hasn't always been this way for Ron Paul:
Voted, several years ago, to cut funding for lethal predator control, trapping on national wildlife refuges, and trophy hunting programs in foreign countries. But...libertarians like Paul don't want to see laws enacted that restrict personal behavior, even if that behavior may involve dogfighting or eating mustangs.
The Presidential Files: Ron Paul and Michael Vick