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Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
5 November 2000 Issue

Decisions, Decisions Revisited
by JJswans@aol.com - editor

In a recent issue of Animal Writes, I shared my feelings about Election 2000 and how difficult it is to make the right choice for the animals. This brought in several letters supporting either Ralph Nader or Vice-president Gore. Strangely enough, I received no letters in support of George Bush, which would seem to indicate his neglect in showing support for any animal issues, at least to the knowledge of our subscribers.

The general consensus was that Ralph Nader has promised to do more for the animals than Al Gore, however his odds for actually winning the election aren't as good as Mr. Gores. Some of our subscribers felt that if we would all vote our consciences, then Mr. Nader actually would have a good chance of getting in, but will we?

Now, to add to the confusion, or to help clear up confusion, depending on which way the reader is leaning, the Humane Society of the United States has issued the following information for our consideration:

"Humane USA, the non-partisan political arm of the animal protection movement, today endorses Vice President Al Gore for President and Senator Joseph Lieberman for Vice President and urges animal protection advocates to support them. Humane USA endorses candidates based on a single criterion: their stands on animal protection issues. The organization is entirely non-partisan and it is not directly affiliated with any single animal protection organization. Humane USA has endorsed dozens of Democrats and dozens of Republicans in races for Congress.

In October 2000, Humane USA received a "statement of principle and policy" from the Gore-Lieberman campaign on animal issues. Here are policy positions it sets out, with excerpts of the letter in quotes:

* Gore opposes commercial whaling and the trade in ivory. "The Administration successfully opposed a proposal by the southern African countries to allow the sale of current ivory stock at the April 2000 meeting of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), as well as efforts by Norway and Japan to resume commercial whaling."

* Gore will promote alternatives to animal tests and work to validate non-animal tests. "Al Gore will appoint an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator who will end the use of animal test subjects where alternative, non-animal test methods are feasible."

* Gore opposes the use of steel-jaw leghold traps. "As President, Al Gore will continue to oppose the use of these inhumane devices."

* Gore opposes any trade in bear gall bladders or other viscera and supports federal legislation to ban any interstate trade or import or export of bear parts.

* Gore supports increased funding for enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). "The Administration's FY2001 Budget proposes $16 million for AWA activities, an increase of $5 million above the current FY2000 estimate."

In the 106th Congress, Senator Lieberman had a 100 percent rating on The Humane Scorecard from The Humane Society of the United States and The Fund for Animals. He voted to ban the use of steel-jaw leghold traps on National Wildlife Refuges for commerce or recreation and voted to limit funding for an international program that encourages foreign tuna fleets to surround dolphins with deadly nets as a means of catching tuna. He also cosponsored legislation to combat cockfighting (S. 345) and the bear parts trade (S. 1109). He has led efforts to combat whaling by Japan and Norway.

Texas Governor George W. Bush (an avid fisherman and hunter) has issued no policy statement on animal issues. What's more, he has received strong support from constituencies that are overly hostile to basic animal protection, including the National Rifle Association and the American Farm Bureau. Most disturbing, Governor Bush was named earlier this year "Governor of the Year" by the Safari Club International (SCI), an extremist trophy hunting organization that promotes killing rare mammals throughout the world. SCI encourages worldwide trophy hunting through its Hunting Achievement Awards. In order to win all 29 SCI Hunting Achievement Awards, a hunter has to kill 322 different species of big game mammals.

Given these political associations, it is not surprising to learn that a President Bush may make very troubling political appointments. MSNBC reported on October 26 that Rep. Don Young would likely leave the U.S. House of Representatives if appointed Secretary of the Interior. ".I think it [the Secretary's position] will be offered," intoned Young. Rep. Young, who has a grizzly bear trophy mounted in his office and who is Congress's only licensed trapper, is virulently opposed to basic protections for animals. Rep. Young has pushed to weaken the Marine Mammal Protection Act to promote trophy hunting of polar bears and, in his capacity as chairman of the Resources Committee, advocated the opening of even more federal land to hunting ("Hunting Heritage Act," H.R. 4790). He bragged during a hearing on H.R. 4790 that during his tenure as chairman not a single national wildlife refuge was created that did not allow hunting.

Though he would undoubtedly assume a number of pro-animal positions and is particularly strong on trade issues, Ralph Nader has no realistic chance of becoming president. Beyond that, Nader has not reached out to the animal protection community. One of his most notable statements on animals was uttered in support of the treaty rights of the Makah Nation to hunt whales off the coast of Washington state. Given that the race for the presidency is so close, there is a real prospect that voting for Nader will elect Bush.

Given the above circumstances, I strongly urge you to join Humane USA and myself with your support of Gore-Lieberman and hope you will spread the word to other animal advocates. The full text of the Gore-Lieberman statement on animals can be found at http://www.humaneusa.org. On behalf of the animals, thank you for your kind consideration.

Joshua Kiess
jkiess@cybrtown.com

So, back to decisions, decisions -- which way to go. Vote wisely because many animal lives depend on it. And be sure to vote in the other ballot measures that pertain to animals. They are as follows:

ALASKA:
Measure 1- OPPOSE - Would bar all citizen ballot initiatives relating to the
protection of wildlife.
For more information, contact: michelle@akvoice.org

Measure 6 - SUPPORT - Would retain the prohibition of same-day airborne
("land-and-shoot") hunting of wolves, which Alaska voters banned in 1996.
For more info., contact: alaskansforwildlife@hotmail.com

ARIZONA:
Proposition 102 - OPPOSE - Would require a two-thirds supermajority to
approve any ballot initiative relating to the protection of wildlife.
For more info., contact: webmaster@no102.com

MASSACHUSETTS:
Question 3 - SUPPORT - Would prohibit dog racing and meetings at which
betting or wagering on dog racing occurs.
For more info, contact: info@grey2k.org

MONTANA:
Initiative 143 - SUPPORT - Would impose a moratorium on new game farm
licenses and would ban "canned hunts."
For more info, contact: grhusmc@aol.com

NORTH DAKOTA:
Question 1 - OPPOSE - Would create a new section of the North Dakota
Constitution relating to the right to hunt, trap, and fish.
For more info, contact: jleitner@fund.org

OKLAHOMA:
(Pending Certification) - SUPPORT - Would ban cockfighting and make it
illegal to keep birds for fighting purposes.
Contact: ocac2000@aol.com

OREGON:
Measure 97 - SUPPORT - Would ban the use of steel-jawed leghold traps & other body-gripping traps for recreation and commerce in fur, and would ban the use of Compound 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate) and sodium cyanide.
For more info, contact: crueltraps@aol.com

VIRGINIA:
Question 2 - OPPOSE - Would amend the Virginia Constitution to establish "a right to hunt, fish, and harvest game."
For more info, contact: noquestion2va@yahoo.com

WASHINGTON:
Initiative 713 - SUPPORT - Would ban the use of steel-jawed leghold traps and other body-gripping traps for recreation & commerce in fur, and would ban the use of Compound 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate) and sodium cyanide.
For more info, contact: kbragdon@seanet.com

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