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Friday, December 21, 2007

Talk Back: Huckabee's Record

Last night, I hosted a meeting of about 50 animal advocates in Des Moines, Iowa, at the fantastic Animal Rescue League South adoption center.  Iowa is only two weeks away from the nation’s first presidential caucuses, and voters in that state have a unique opportunity to influence the presidential candidates on animal protection issues.

They also have a unique opportunity to shape federal animal welfare policy, as one of their Senators, Tom Harkin, is Chairman of the Agriculture Committee—which has just passed several animal welfare provisions in the Farm Bill—and the other, Charles Grassley, is Ranking Member of the Finance Committee.  We had a great and lively discussion about the importance of Iowa citizens getting involved in legislative and political advocacy for animals.

But you don’t have to live in Iowa to have a voice on these matters.  Many readers wrote in response to my columns on the presidential candidates—specifically the posting on Mike Huckabee—and here’s a sampling of the comments we received:

I am urging all of you out there to email your favorite news channel and ask them to investigate these allegations. Let them know that the voting public takes this issue seriously. We animal-lovers are an extensive network, and we should do our part by forwarding this HSLF newsletter to all our contacts. —Kelly 

I am outraged that you would use the actions of a son to do a political hit on anyone. This action makes me ashamed that someone in the leadership Humane Society (a group I support) would rationalize hitting a candidate based the actions of their son. Keep the focus on the candidate's own actions. —Larry

I appreciate your call to arms for people of faith. My belief is that animals are a treasured part of God's creation and that one of the ways in which we are called to be "good stewards" is by protecting their welfare. That a governor and former pastor can display such an utter lack of compassion, coupled with clearly questionable values, seems to be an indication of a much deeper social problem. In my opinion, someone like this should not even be in office, but unfortunately, politicians are often corrupt and self-interested. Protecting the welfare of animals is just a step toward a better global community. Thanks for keeping up with your blog! —Tara

If I can't trust him with my dog, how can I trust him with my country? —Jeannie

Well, if Huckabee thinks that animal cruelty is not worth a more severe punishment then I guess he stands the same when it comes to child or spouse abuse because that is what usually follows animal abuse. The offender begins with the animals then moves on to more interesting prey. THAT is the sad part. If you try to nip it in the bud you have a better chance of preventing further abuse but he doesn't care. So sad. —Gena

A nation's greatness is measured by its humanity toward the weak and helpless, such as its elderly, children and animals. Politicians who would stand silent on the issues of protection for children and animals are not fit to serve the public. We need leadership with compassion not a passion for blood sport. Thank you for uncovering the true Mike Huckabee. —Michele

I absolutely agree that cruelty to animals must be prosecuted and punished severely and never tolerated or looked upon with apathy. People who respect other living beings respect other people, show compassion and concern. Animals have just as much a right to be on this planet as humans. Humans are not the all mighty know it all, more important species on this earth. —Mary-Frances

I do not believe that many things that a child does is a direct result of his upbringing, but I do believe one's attitude about life and respect of all creatures IS!! A parent may teach some values that the child may choose not to follow but do any of you know someone with a moral upbringing who would torture an animal?? NO, is the answer. In my opinion, an apology is not going to make a difference. Can he truly say that his child didn't develop his disrespect of life from the people who have the most influence, the parents? —Jenell

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