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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Paw-litical Pets

Last month I reported on congressional candidates who are harnessing pet power on the campaign trail. Now that we’re less than six weeks from Election Day, the race to the White House, too, is getting some attention from our canine and feline friends.

Chihuahuas_2 It seems that blogs and websites dedicated to presidential paw-litics are breeding faster than unneutered alley cats. There’s Pet the Vote! which has photos and video clips such as John McCain’s dog making an appearance during a television interview and a kitten watching Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.

The Dog Vote allows users to follow the Doggie Electoral Map, and order bandanas for pooches who want to show their support—blue for Obama and red for McCain, of course. On Bark the Vote, five-pound Schmitty takes a bite out of voter apathy by directing pet owners to online voter registration.

Some of these sites have much more partisan bite in their bark. Gina Spadafori and other dog and cat bloggers have joined together to spread the word for the Democratic ticket on Bark Obama! (this week they highlighted the Humane Society Legislative Fund’s endorsement). Activist canines are showing their support at rallies across the country with doggie t-shirts such as Mutts for Obama or Mutts for McCain.

When Sarah Palin’s friends told Good Morning America that the vice presidential nominee doesn’t like cats, The New York Times’ columnist Paul Krugman gave us Cats Against Palin. These might be the same cats who can be seen showing their candidate preference on Cats for Obama. And the infamous convention joke about hockey moms and a certain maligned dog breed has led to Pit Bulls Against Palin, a t-shirt campaign featuring Vivian, a four-year-old rescued spokesdog.

Prop2_dog The next president will have an enormous impact on the lives of pets, and will oversee federal agencies that combat dogfighting, inspect puppy mills, and confront other abuses. It’s no surprise that pet lovers are speaking out, and over the next 40 days we can expect to hear more from the Demo-cats, Re-pup-licans, and Inde-pet-dents.

Of course, it's not just the presidential race that is bringing pets out on the stump, but state elections as well. California pooches are rallying around the state at "Pet out the Vote" events for Proposition 2, sending the message that all animals deserve humane treatment, including animals raised for food. They've got their own t-shirts, too, for both the Demo-cats and the Re-pup-licans supporting Prop 2. Check out these photos from the canines for Prop 2 in Bakersfield, Sacramento, Santa Monica, and elswewhere.


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