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From 12 September 2004 Issue

Humane USA Endorses John Kerry for President
http://www.humaneusa.org/article.asp?article_key=109&n=1

Can you believe it? President George W. Bush has gone out of his way to attack animal advocates on his presidential campaign website!

That’s right, in their bid for reelection to the White House, the Bush-Cheney 2004 team posted a report for hunters titled “John Kerry on Hunting,” which attacked not only the Democratic nominee, but also the entire animal protection community! The Bush-Cheney website includes these direct quotes:

• “John Kerry has the highest rating on the Humane Scorecards sponsored jointly by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Fund for Animals. Both groups are firmly committed to ending hunting in this country.”

• “HSUS’ website says ‘sport hunting – the killing of wild animals as recreation – is fundamentally at odds with the values of a humane, just and caring society’ (emphasis added).” (www.hsus.org/ace/12035; viewed 7/5/04).

• “Heidi Prescott, the National Director of the Fund for Animals, said in a 1995 speech that the Fund for Animals is ‘unalterably opposed to the killing of animals for sport’ (emphasis added). (Speech by Heidi Prescott to the 4th Annual Governors Symposium on North America’s Hunting Heritage, August 1995).”

(All quotes from “GeorgeWBush.com :: John Kerry on Hunting,” www.georgewbush.com/News/Read.aspx?ID=2930 ; viewed 7/20/04)

Based solely on the positions that animal advocates take against the recreational shooting of animals, the President’s campaign took aim at groups that work on a broad range of animal issues – from pet overpopulation to animal fighting to protecting habitat. He’s slamming two organizations that work to protect animals from cruelty, and he’s belittling his opponent for having a strong record on matters relating to the humane treatment of animals.

President Bush, though, has always portrayed himself as a friend to trophy hunters. He recently hosted leaders of about 20 hunting organizations, including the Safari Club International, National Rifle Association, and U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. And as Governor of Texas, he was named “Governor of the Year” by the Safari Club – one of the world’s most influential and extreme trophy hunting organizations.

Among its other notable programs, the Safari Club provides 29 “hunting achievement” awards to its members who kill animals throughout the world. For instance, to win the “Africa Big Five” award, a hunter must kill a lion, a leopard, an elephant, a rhino, and a Cape buffalo. The hunter gets credit whether he shoots the animal in the wild or at a canned hunting facility either here in the United States or at one in South Africa.

To win all 29 “hunting achievement” awards, a Safari Club hunter would have to kill 322 different species and subspecies of mammals. The number of hunters in this pantheon of shame increases every year. It’s just sickening.

After President Bush assumed office in Washington, D.C., he appointed Matt Hogan to be the deputy director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – the number two position at the very agency charged with protecting wildlife and enforcing laws such as the Endangered Species Act. Mr. Hogan was not only a trophy hunter himself, but he also happened to be the former chief lobbyist for the Safari Club.

So, it’s Hogan who now helps shape federal wildlife policies and who often represents the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Capitol Hill. It is the equivalent of Dracula guarding the blood bank. The very people who kill and otherwise exploit wildlife are setting the rules.

President Bush has not only appointed bad people to positions of power, but he’s also been hostile to the environment in which wild animals live. He has advocated drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and he has reversed a ban on road building in 58 million acres of our national forests. With more roads blazed through our national forests, we’ll see more poachers, more hunters, and more loggers despoiling our natural heritage.

Those are just some of the reasons why Humane USA is endorsing John Kerry in the presidential race. In truth, we are disappointed that John Kerry is also a hunter, and that his campaign has pandered so much to hunting groups. We need to look toward a day when all politicians recognize that the animal-friendly vote is much more crucial to political success that the hunting lobby.

But in terms of public policy, if not in personal participation, John Kerry is the clear choice for people who care about animals. He has been a strong advocate and supporter of pro-animal legislation throughout his political career. He has regularly scored high ratings on the Humane Scorecard, most recently scoring 100+ during the 108th Congress. Among his efforts to secure protection for animals:

• Kerry was the co-author with former Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH) of the successful effort to halt an annual $2 million subsidy for the mink industry – terminating a taxpayer give-away to the corporate mink industry. Kerry and Smith shepherded this amendment through the Senate during debate on the Fiscal Year 1995 Agriculture Appropriations Act, and they have repelled subsequent efforts by legislators aligned with the mink industry to revive the taxpayer boondoggle.

• Kerry has a notable record of co-sponsoring animal friendly legislation, including support of measures to combat cockfighting, bear baiting, canned hunts, puppy mills, the bear parts trade, the exotic pet trade, steel-jawed leghold traps, and the abuse of “downed” livestock.

• Kerry has also exerted leadership in securing important funds for animal protection. In recent years, he and Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) co-authored letters sent to the leaders of the Senate Subcommittee on Agriculture Appropriations to increase funding for existing animal protection laws, including the Animal Welfare Act and the Humane Slaughter Act. Thanks in part to Kerry’s leadership – and his collaboration with the powerful senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) – the Congress has provided more than $26 million in new funds for animal protection programs in recent years.

The President of the United States has a major impact on public policies that affect the lives of animals. The Animal Welfare Act, Humane Slaughter Act, Horse Protection Act, and a long list of other federal laws need proper enforcement if their original purposes are to be fulfilled. The president also shapes how Congress views new legislative proposals to protect animals from cruelty and abuse. We need John Kerry – not George W. Bush – in the White House.

Next year, we expect the Congress to consider bills that would crack down on “puppy mills” – where dogs are housed in squalid, overcrowded conditions and bred relentlessly to supply the pet trade, even though there are thousands of healthy and adoptable animals at shelters.

The Congress is also expected to take up legislation to require that antifreeze manufacturers add a bittering agent to their product. Tragically, thousands of pets and dozens of children each year die from ingesting sweet-tasting, yet toxic antifreeze that spills in garages, driveways, or roadways.

And the Congress will probably take up legislation to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption. Every year, more than 50,000 horses are slaughtered in the United States, and they are sold to France, Belgium, and Japan for human consumption.

Finally, Congress is expected to consider legislation banning the “canned hunts” of exotic animals such as zebras and giraffes, where the animals are raised in captivity, hand-fed, trapped behind fences, and shot by trophy hunters at point-blank range. These are the same “canned hunts” promoted by President Bush’s friends at the Safari Club! We need to take the White House back from the Safari Club and their cronies!
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About Humane USA - http://www.humaneusa.org/about/index.asp  Formed in late 1999, Humane USA is the nation's first major political action committee devoted to the task of electing humane-minded candidates to public office at the federal and state levels. Humane USA has been formed by leaders of major animal protection organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, The Fund for Animals, Farm Sanctuary, ASPCA, Doris Day Animal League, Animal Welfare Institute, The Ark Trust, Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, and others. Its board of directors, advisory board, and advisors are top grassroots and national animal protection leaders. Strong animal protection laws are produced by humane-minded elected officials, and the best way to secure a large crop of humane-minded legislators is to support them during their election campaigns.

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