Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Candidates & Animal Rights...Progressive Understanding Cannot be Understated

I got an email today from a woman at the Coalition to Ban Horse-drawn Carriages, a cause that Rational Animal supports whole-heartedly. I wasn't surprised to get this message about Barack and his favorable stance on animal rights, but this was different as it provided many pertinent points that any one of us could make as we continue to bring awareness to our respective animal causes.

While I personally am still undecided, as far as what will go down on November 4th, what I read was a breath of fresh air. Basically, Barack Obama summaraized something that people in the animal welfare/rights world have been trying to convey to every day people over and over...and finally someone with influence is heard saying the right things, expressing the progressive concepts that bolster the efforts to end animal cruelty.

No matter who you vote for, what Barack says about his personal stance on animal cruelty and the twisted people who carry it out, is what we all should hope our representatives and leaders believe.

There are a number of pro-Obama bullet points below, but this post is not meant to sway anyone one way or another. I'm just including the whole thing that was sent to me.
I'm sure there are a number of Republicans who have also stood strongly against animal cruelty and worked to get legislation past that cracks down on these crimes. I'll try to research that but leave a comment or two if you know of others in government who are outspoken on these matters. Would be excellent if we all, regardless of party affiliation, had reps to vote for that will be influential in this realm.
Barack Obama - Animal Welfare Advocate

While speaking in Henderson, Nevada, Democrat Barack Obama says he won't just be a president for the American people, but the animals too. "What about animal rights?" a woman shouted out during the candidate's town hall meeting outside Las Vegas after he discussed issues that relate more to humans, like war, health care and the economy. Obama responded that he cares about animal rights very much, "not only because I have a 9-year-old and 6-year-old who want a dog." He said he sponsored a bill to prevent horse slaughter in the Illinois state Senate and has been repeatedly endorsed by the Humane Society. "I think how we treat our animals reflects how we treat each other," he said. "And it's very important that we have a president who is mindful of the cruelty that is perpetrated on animals." as reported by Associated Press Indeed, Senator Barack 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 has written and spoken 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.

Obama also comments on the broader 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 as part of the punishment. In addition to being unacceptable in its own stead, violence towards animals is linked with violent behavior in general, especially domestic violence, and we need to acknowledge this connection and work to treat it. Strong penalties are important and I support them, but we know that incarceration alone can't solve all our problems. 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." During Barack Obama's eight years as an Illinois state senator he voted in favor of at least twelve animal protection laws. These included state legislation
• to allow creation of pet trusts to provide 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 to report suspected acts of cruelty and animal fighting,
• to ban slaughter of horses for human consumption-to ban slaughter of horses for human consumption – significant because Illinois was one of only two state
• to create additional restrictions to make it more difficult for puppy mills to operate.
• He voted to end the federal funding of horse slaughter in 2005, and
• he is currently a co-sponsor of new legislation to stop horse slaughter and the export of horses for human consumption.
• He co-sponsored legislation to upgrade the federal penalties for dogfighting and cockfighting, and
• he is a co-sponsor of new legislation to ban the possession of fighting dogs and being a spectator at a dogfight.
• He signed a letter requesting increased funds for the enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and the federal animal fighting law, and
• he also sent a letter to the National Zoo expressing his concern for the care of Toni the elephant.
• He has joined the fight against puppy mills, and appears in A Rare Breed of Love: The True Story of Baby and the Mission She Inspired to Help Dogs Everywhere ,a new book by Jana Kohl about her rescued dog, Baby, who survived a decade in a puppy mill.

And Obama has said that "as a condition for letting me run for President, my daughters Malia and Sasha extracted a promise from Michelle and I that they could get a dog after the election, win or lose. So they're heavily invested in this campaign, if only for it to be over so we can get our dog." Humane Society Endorses Barack Obama Sept 22, 2008 ~ "While we've endorsed hundreds of congressional candidates for election, both Democrats and Republicans, we've never before endorsed a presidential candidate. We have members on the left, in the center, and on the right, and we knew it could be controversial to choose either party's candidate for the top office in the nation. But in an era of sweeping presidential power, we must weigh in on this most important political race in the country. Standing on the sidelines is no longer an option for us. I'm proud to announce today that the HSLF board of directors -- which is comprised of both Democrats and Republicans -- has voted unanimously to endorse Barack Obama for President. The Obama-Biden ticket is the better choice on animal protection, and we urge all voters who care about the humane treatment of animals, no matter what their party affiliation, to vote for them." ~ Mike Markarian, President , Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Now let's just hope that after the election he takes his daughters to a shelter and adopts a dog!

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