This Sample "Animals' Platform" summarizes the national and local issues
that you may wish to lobby candidates about in order to determine how
supportive they are on animal rights. Get together with local activists
and organizations to customize a platform for your area.
More than 64 million cats and 62 million dogs live in U.S. households,
but another estimated 8-12 million of them enter shelters annually;
roughly 4-6 million are killed. Overpopulation and constant challenges
of housing, placing, and euthanizing unwanted animals prevent many
humane societies, shelters, and sanctuaries from developing animal
wellness and humane education programs to promote responsible
* Expand and improve state-funded spay/neuter programs to make them
easily available to all sectors of society.
* Ban the commercial breeding of cats and dogs.
* Replace the sale of companion animals in pet stores with the promotion
of adoptable cats and dogs from humane societies, shelters and
* Prohibit such cosmetic mutilations as tail docking and ear cropping.
* End the practice of pound seizure whereby animal care facilities are
forced to relinquish cats and dogs to animal research laboratories.
* Make animal cruelty a felony offense.
* Prohibit the import, export, or sale of dog and cat fur products.
* Establish animal care educational programs in schools, colleges, and
* Provide strict penalties for harming dogs and horses used by police or
Wild animals are at serious risk from such human activities as habitat
destruction (residential and commercial), hunting, and trapping. The
annual hunting toll is staggering: 42 million mourning doves, 30 million
squirrels, 28 million quail, 13 million rabbits, 7 million pheasants, 17
million ducks, 13 million upland game birds, 6 million deer, 4 million
geese, 4 million raccoons, and thousands of bears, moose, elk, antelope,
swans, cougars, turkeys, wolves, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, boars, and
others. Up to 10 million wild-caught and farmed animals are also killed
for fur. The worldwide trade in wildlife parts, which is a $5 billion
industry, severely threatens populations worldwide.
* Outlaw the recreational killing of animals, whether by hunting,
shooting or trapping.
* Prohibit commercial fur farming and trapping.
* End government-funded trapping, snaring, poisoning, killing, and other
assaults on wild animals on all public lands.
* Prohibit interstate commerce of steel-jaw leg hold traps or fur caught
with these cruel devices.
* Ban the importation of skins, pelts, and other products obtained from
animals, whether trapped or farmed.
* Halt bear poaching by prohibiting interstate or foreign commerce of
bear viscera (gallbladders and bile) or products that contain them.
* Establish public education programs that celebrate wild animals and
* Enhance protections provided under the Endangered Species Act.
* Support conservation projects to protect great apes from the bush meat
trade, habitat destruction, and other threats.
* Increase funding for rescue, rehabilitation, and release of stranded
* Provide permanent funding for a variety of programs that will conserve
and protect wildlife habitat, open space, and natural resources.
There are no reliable statistics on the numbers of animals used in such
entertainment venues as zoos, wildlife parks, aquariums, and film and
television production. There are many abusive practices involved in this
profit-driven industry, including confinement in inadequate housing that
does not allow for animals' normal behavior and psychological needs;
capture and transportation; questionable breeding practices that
perpetuate a constant supply of baby animals to attract the public; and
the disposal of unwanted or genetically imperfect animals, some of whom
end up in canned hunts or the exotic "pet" trade.
* Ban the keeping of animals in roadside zoos and attractions.
* Prohibit the capture of animals from their native habitat for the
purpose of public display and entertainment.
* Close the loophole in the Animal Welfare Act that allows interstate
commerce of birds used for cockfighting.
* Make animal fighting a felony.
* Eliminate animal acts from circuses and from theatrical productions.
* Convert zoos, wildlife parks, aquariums, and similar facilities into
sanctuaries for rescued animals.
More than 8 billion animals are killed annually (or 15,221 every second)
in the United States for human consumption. In 1998 this included 7,826
million broiler chickens, 169 million laying hens, 273 million turkeys,
23 million ducks, 37 million cattle and calves, 101 million pigs, and 39
million sheep. Many of these animals are raised in intensive confinement
that does not allow them to turn around, lie down, or stretch their legs
or wings. These factory farming conditions do not allow the animals to
satisfy their behavior and psychological needs. The transportation and
slaughter of animals is also a highly stressful and painful experience.
Furthermore, the consumption of an animal-based diet is increasingly
recognized as placing consumers' health unnecessarily at risk;
significantly and negatively impacting the environment; and routinely
exploiting disadvantaged and migrant workers in dangerous work
* Make illegal the most egregious examples of factory farming, including
battery cages, veal crates, and sow stalls.
* Ban the routine mutilation of animals, including tail docking and
* Strengthen State anti-cruelty statutes to include animals in
* Prohibit the transfer or sale of "downed" animals who cannot walk
because of illness or injury.
* Eliminate the use of pesticides, drugs, and antibiotics in raising
animals for food.
* Regulate factory farms to reduce environmental contamination from
animal waste, which would likely lead to improvement in the living
conditions of the animals.
* Stop grants for research into intensive animals agriculture systems.
* Remove tax subsidies for corporations engaged in animal rearing,
transportation, and slaughter.
* Promote plant-based food options in schools and other institutions.
SCIENCE AND EDUCATION
The federal government does not keep accurate and comprehensive
statistics on the numbers and types of animals used in science and
education, nor on the level of suffering to which they are exposed.
Rats, mice, and birds -- who collectively are used more than any other
species in research and testing -- are specifically exempted from the
minimal protections of the Animal Welfare Act. The AWA does little to
question the rationale for individual experiments, or attempt to limit
research that is duplicative or of questionable purpose. It places no
controls on the amount of pain and suffering that the animals may endure
nor requires researchers to use non-animal alternatives. Commercial
interests and scientific community are virtually free from public
inspection and accountability. The increasingly costly dependence on a
curative rather than preventative healthcare system, which relies upon
theories based on questionable animal research, often fails to prevent
disease and/or promote the well-being of humans and animals. Young
people are desensitized to animal suffering by classroom dissections and
the use of live animals in science fairs.
* Ban the most egregious examples of animal experiments, including those
that involve invasive psychological and behavioral research; tobacco,
alcohol, and recreational drugs; personal care and household cleaning
products; warfare; and so on.
* Strengthen the Animal Welfare Act to include coverage for rats, mice,
* Eliminate authorization of Class B dealers, who sell animals from
random sources to research facilities, thereby helping to reduce "pet"
* Demand that the federal government provide annual, accurate, and
comprehensive statistics on the use of animals in laboratories.
* Require the government to subject any potential testing programs
called for by federal agencies and departments to a thorough animal
protection audit, assessing the relevance of proposed animal testing to
the program and the availability of alternative methods, and mandating
more animal advocates serve on institutional research oversight
* Ban dissection in all schools, and the use of live animals in science
* Establish humane sanctuary facilities for chimpanzees no longer used
in medical research.
* Codify the Interagency Coordinating Committee for the Validation of
Alternative Methods, and encourage federal agencies to give greater
consideration to non-animal tests.
* Require laboratories to be held publicly accountable for their use of
animals, and implement a maximum 10-year program to replace all animal
use with non-animal alternatives.
Go on to Vatican
Official Calls For More Just Relationship With Animals
17 December 2000 Issue
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