Posts Tagged With "Current Affairs"

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Wednesday February 08, 2012

The Humane Society’s Animal Protection Law Scorecard: How did Texas Do Compared with the Rest of the Nation?

Brandi Grubbs -

Brandi Grubbs

Topics: 82nd Legislative Session, Elections, Dog/Cock Fighting, Puppy Mills, Current Affairs, Texas Animal Laws, Humane Society of the United States, Animal Cruelty

On January 17th, the Humane Society of the United States released its 2011 ranking of state animal protection laws.  The highest-ranked state for the third year in a row was California, praised for enacting over twelve new measures. Animals in this state cannot be sold along roadsides or be trapped using steel-jawed traps. Further, in California, farm animals are protected from extreme confinement and mountain lions cannot be hunted for trophies.

So, where does Texas rank? Well, pretty much right in the middle at 25. Despite the slightly disappointing rating, Texas did move up nine ranks from the year before, so we are making progress! What gave our state its boost? Provisions against cockfighting and stricter breeding laws helped us move up from our rating of 36 in 2010.

Ranking dead last is the state of South Dakota. South Dakota and two other states, Idaho and North Dakota, have the unfortunate distinction of having no felony penalties for animal cruelty. South Dakota's citizens have also voted down measures that would protect animals from captive hunts.

You can check out the full rankings here. And, if you're interested in how the Texas state government did, you can see HSLF and THLN's Texas scorecard here.

Tuesday January 31, 2012

HSLF and THLN’s Texas Scorecard – How did our State Government Treat Animals in 2011?

Brandi Grubbs -

Brandi Grubbs

Topics: 82nd Legislative Session, Elections, Dog/Cock Fighting, Puppy Mills, Current Affairs, Texas Animal Laws, Humane Society Legislative Fund, Animal Cruelty

You may have noticed a new link on our home page. THLN has had the unique honor of working with the Humane Society Legislative Fund on a Texas scorecard for the 2011 legislative session. Since the release of the federal government's scorecard, you might have been interested in how our state government measures up on animal-related legislation. The Texas scorecard measures how each senator and congressman voted for each of the nine animal-related issues (all of which were supported by THLN and HSLF save for one - that allowing feral hogs and coyotes to be shot from the air).

Overall, it looks like we didn't do too bad.

Out of the 31 state senators, the average score was about 84% inline with HSLF and THLN's mission with Democrats tending to score slightly higher than Republicans. Out of the 149 voting state representatives, the average score was about 79%, again with Democrats scoring slightly higher than Republicans. However, Mike Hamilton from district 19 (in East Texas) is a Republican who scored 100%!

Most important is that six of the nine issues supported by HSLF and THLN were passed into law. Now in Texas, people convicted of animal cruelty must reimburse shelters for the cost of providing care to their animals during their prosecutions. Those convicted can also be required to attend animal care classes. Cockfighting is now illegal. Humane care must now be provided to animals in high-volume breeding facilities. People providing care to animals in emergency situations have limited liability protection in lawsuits resulting from their care. And, likely to relieve countless victims of domestic violence, pets and other animal companions can now be included in protective orders.

How did your legislators vote? Did they follow your interests in animal welfare? Let them know how you feel about their decisions. Don't know who your legislators are? Find them here.

Thursday January 12, 2012

How Did Animals Fare During the 2011 Congressional Year?

Brandi Grubbs -

Brandi Grubbs

Topics: Elections, Dog/Cock Fighting, Puppy Mills, Current Affairs, Habitat Protection, Horse Slaughter, Animal Cruelty

Despite congressional fighting on both sides and across the aisle, 2011 was a relatively successful year for animals. Let's take a brief look at what Humane Society Legislative Fund writer Michael Markarian had to say about Congress's successes and setbacks for 2011 and where they will likely focus their attention in 2012.

Even though most of us, including our government, have been tightening the proverbial "purse strings", animal successes in 2011 largely came in the form of budget boosts to animal-related acts and governmental organizations. Two of these are increases in the Department of Agriculture budget and the enforcement budget for the Horse Prevention Act. With more funds, inspections of animal-related facilities like puppy mills, circuses, zoos, and laboratories will hopefully ensure humane conditions for animals everywhere. Other budget increases will help prevent the Bureau of Land Management from killing wild horses and burros, ensure protection of key aspects of the Endangered Species Act, and halt the military and other groups from performing certain tests on animals.

The setbacks in 2011 come from the prevalence of politics over protection. As most animal advocates are aware, language protecting horses from slaughter for human consumption was not renewed in USDA funding language. Further, gray wolves lost their Endangered Species Act protections, allowing hunters to take advantage of the sensitive species and maybe opening the floodgates for future political subversion of other protected species. Even more disturbing is the continued, though seemingly-useless (as it affects around 1% of the livestock population), subsidy that allows private livestock ranchers to use tax dollars to inhumanely poison, trap, or otherwise kill predators when plenty of other humane options are available.

Click here to read Hot Off the Press: 112th Congress Midterm Humane Scorecard on Michael Markarian's blog where he reviews the final version of the 2011 Humane Scorecard which tracks the performance of your federal lawmakers on key animal protection issues during last year.

Looking ahead, there will be several animal issues that will likely crop up in 2012. These issues will undoubtedly include those revolving around service animals, puppy mills, dog and cock fighting, horse-racing, animal testing, livestock and food safety, wildlife conservation, hunting, and more. Stay tuned to THLN and we will keep you updated on the issues that impact the animals we all love and strive to protect.


Wednesday January 04, 2012

Which Presidential Candidates are Animal Friendly?

Brandi Grubbs -

Brandi Grubbs

Topics: Elections, Current Affairs

With presidential elections coming up, it is important for animal advocates to know where the candidates stand on animal issues. Using the Humane Society Legislative Fund's Humane Scorecard (a score of 0 to 100, with 100 being the most animal-friendly which applies to members of Congress only), Michael Markarian has written a detailed summary of each GOP candidate's stance on animal issues.

According to the scorecard and a review of the candidate's actions, the most animal-friendly GOP candidate for the 2012 presidential election look to be Rick Santorum (score: 80 during the 109th congress).  Jon Huntsman and to a lesser-degree, Rick Perry, neither of whom have scores as they're not in congress, have both signed several animal-friendly bills into law in their states and therefore are both considered to be animal-friendly as well.

The rest of the GOP candidates are not as animal-friendly or are downright non-committal on the issues. Michelle Bachmann's most recent score (though she has now dropped out of the race) was a dismal 13 out of 100 while Ron Paul scored a whopping ZERO in the 110th congressional session, though he may manage to get a 25 for 2011. Newt Gingrich, the last time he was scored, got a measly 21. Mitt Romney, who has not been scored, has come under fire from animal advocates numerous times, not only for his public record with animal issues, but his horrible treatment of a family pet during a vacation. Even though he has recently signed some animal protection bills into law, let me just say: would you like to ride on top of a car in a carrier for twelve hours?

The Humane Society's President and CEO, Wayne Pacelle, gave President Obama a C minus in his blog. This negative score is highly due to stalling, indifference, and inaction on the part of the President, particularly in issues regarding horses, subsidies, and the protection of sensitive species. The few positives were in the President's push to increase funding for the Animal Welfare Act and his stance against puppy mills. Pacelle summed it perfectly by saying, "Despite campaign promises that he'd be strong on humane issues, the President has failed to pull together a coherent animal welfare strategy or to deliver any kind of message to our community of 20,000 animal protection organizations and millions of animal-loving Americans throughout the country."

So, as the 2012 elections draw near, let's make sure to do our research and get a candidate in office, no matter what party they may be from, that cares about protecting the welfare of animals as much as we do!

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