Friday, February 8, 2008

The Presidential Candidates and Animal Rights

Alas, Dennis Kucinich, the only presidential candidate I would voted for, dropped out. It would have been great to have a vegan in the White House.

However, Michael Markarian, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, has some great information available on the remaining 2008 presidential candidates on his blog, Animals & Politics. Below are some snippets.

Hillary Clinton
  • In her questionnaire response, Clinton indicates her support for every major animal protection bill in Congress, and says she will work with executive agencies to implement humane policies and adequate funding and enforcement for animal welfare laws.

  • "From preventing dog fighting to preventing horse slaughter to addressing global warming, I will work to ensure that these issues get the attention and support they deserve."

  • In her seven years in the U.S. Senate, Clinton has been a consistent supporter of animal protection, scoring 100 percent on the Humane Scorecard for the 108th Congress, and 100+ for the 109th Congress. She is currently 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 cruelly confined and treated like production machines. She has also signed letters requesting more funds for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to step up enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and federal animal fighting law.

Barack Obama
  • In his questionnaire response, Obama pledges support for nearly every animal protection bill currently pending in Congress, and he says he will work with executive agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make their policies more humane. He writes of the important role animals play in our lives, as companions in our homes, as wildlife in their own environments, and as service animals working with law enforcement and assisting persons with disabilities.

  • In his eight years as an Illinois state senator, Obama voted for at least a dozen animal protection laws that came up during that time. He supported measures, among others, to allow the creation of pet trusts to provide for the long-term care of companion animals; to upgrade the penalties for cruelty to animals; to require psychological counseling for people who abuse animals; to require that veterinarians report suspected acts of cruelty and animal fighting; and to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption—which was significant because, at the time, Illinois was one of only two states (with Texas) where horse slaughter plants operated.

  • Senator Obama scored 20 percent on the 2005 Humane Scorecard because he voted to end horse slaughter, but at the time, had not yet co-sponsored bills dealing with animal fighting, puppy mills, or downer livestock, or signed the enforcement funding letter. His score improved to 60 percent on the 2006 Humane Scorecard, as he signed onto the animal fighting bill and the funding letter. For 2007, Obama will receive credit on the scorecard for co-sponsoring the animal fighting and horse slaughter legislation, but he has not yet co-sponsored major animal welfare bills such as the Pet Safety and Protection Act.

  • Obama has said that he supports the rights of hunters and sportsmen.

John McCain
  • In the U.S. Senate, McCain has been a strong supporter of numerous animal welfare issues, earning scores of up to 75 percent on the Humane Scorecard. He has voted for and co-sponsored legislation to stop horse slaughter, and voted to eliminate a $2 million subsidy for the mink industry. He has co-sponsored bills to stop the interstate shipment of birds for cockfighting and to stop the poaching of bears by ending the 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. Senator McCain has been a leader in the effort to stop global warming, and he opposes drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to many wildlife species.

Read the entire articles: Hillary Clinon, Barack Obama, John McCain.

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