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Friday, February 29, 2008

How Did Members of Congress Score on Animal Protection in 2007?

The Humane Society Legislative Fund today posted its 2007 Humane Scorecard, and you can read it here. The scorecard, which is published annually, provides the records of U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives on major animal welfare policies. This most recent report card covers the first session of the 110th Congress.

110_humanescorecard The Humane Scorecard provides an easy way for constituents to assess how their federal lawmakers acted on animal protection issues, and it helps chart the progress of our public policy work on behalf of animals.  Animal protection is more than ever being treated like the serious moral issue it is on Capitol Hill, and lawmakers are debating policies that have enormous implications for animals.

Last year, Congress passed measures dealing with animal fighting, chimpanzee sanctuaries, pet food safety, the Canadian seal hunt, and a war dog memorial.  Appropriators provided record levels of funding for the enforcement of animal welfare laws and support for alternatives to animal testing, cut spending for horse slaughter and trophy hunting, and directed agencies to take action on de-clawing of cats and humane slaughter of poultry. Many issues are still to be settled in 2008, including the Farm Bill, which includes animal welfare provisions dealing with dogfighting, puppy imports, and experimentation on pets.

The 2007 report scores lawmakers on their floor votes on legislation to crack down on animal fighting, protect wild horses and burros from slaughter, and stop the imports of sport-hunted polar bear trophies; their co-sponsorship of key bills such as those to stop horse slaughter, require the labeling of fur-trimmed apparel, and end the use of random source dogs and cats (including stolen pets) in research; and their signing of a letter requesting funding for enforcement of animal welfare laws. Members who led as prime sponsors of animal protection legislation receive extra credit.

We hope you’ll study this scorecard and use it as a tool to ensure that your legislators represent your interests in Washington, D.C. Let legislators know that you’re watching and you appreciate their support for pro-animal legislation; or if they haven’t done enough, let them know you’d like to see them do more. Here are some of my favorite highlights from the 2007 Humane Scorecard:

  • A bipartisan group of 31 Senators and 100 Representatives covering 38 states led as prime sponsors of pro-animal legislation and/or scored a perfect 100—nearly one third of the Senate and one quarter of the House.
  • The average Senate score was a 43, with Senate Democrats averaging 60, and Senate Republicans averaging 24.
  • The average House score was a 53, with House Democrats averaging 71, and House Republicans averaging 33.
  • Seventeen Senators scored 100 or 100+ (13 Democrats, 4 Republicans).
  • Thirty-one Senators scored zero (7 Democrats, 24 Republicans).
  • Eighty-three Representatives scored 100 or 100+ (69 Democrats, 14 Republicans).
  • Thirty-seven Representatives scored zero (3 Democrats, 34 Republicans).
  • The New England region led the pack with an average Senate score of 75 and an average House score of 89.
  • The Rocky Mountains were at the bottom with an average Senate score of 13 and an average House score of 27.
  • California, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are the only states in which both Senators scored 100 or 100+.
  • Alabama, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming are the only states in which both Senators scored zero.
  • Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island are the only states with an average House score of 90 or above.
  • Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Utah are the only states with an average House score below 20.

I would especially like to acknowledge the following 8 Senators and 24 Representatives who scored the highest possible 100+ for receiving a perfect score and also leading on animal protection legislation:

  • Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)
  • Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)
  • Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)
  • Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)
  • Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.)
  • Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)
  • Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.)
  • Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.)
  • Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.)
  • Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.)
  • Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.)
  • Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.)
  • Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.)
  • Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.)
  • Rep. Mike Ferguson (R-N.J.)
  • Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.)
  • Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.)
  • Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.)
  • Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.)
  • Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.)
  • Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.)
  • Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.)
  • Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.)
  • Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.)
  • Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.)
  • Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)
  • Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.)
  • Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.)
  • Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.)
  • Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio)
  • Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)

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