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Monday, November 02, 2009

Get Out the Vote for Animals on Election Day

Voters in two states—New Jersey and Virginia—tomorrow will decide on candidates for statewide elected office, and the Humane Society Legislative Fund is letting animal advocates know that the stakes are high for animals on election day. In the two gubernatorial races, HSLF strongly endorses one Democrat and one Republican who have each demonstrated a career-long commitment to public policies that protect animals from cruelty and abuse.

HSLF endorses Jon Corzine for Governor and Loretta
Weinberg for Lt. Governor in New Jersey.

In New Jersey, Gov. Jon Corzine (D) has been a leader for animal protection, and HSLF urges his reelection. During his first term, Corzine worked with the Department of Environmental Protection to stop the controversial trophy hunting season on the state’s small population of black bears, and instead implemented a comprehensive plan to solve bear problems using humane and non-lethal management strategies. Corzine’s opponent, Chris Christie (R), has indicated his support for bear hunting, demonstrating a clear contrast between the candidates on the state’s most high-profile animal protection issue.

Corzine signed numerous animal protection bills into law, including measures to ban Internet hunting, protect pets in disasters, tax fur clothing, suspend the harvest of horseshoe crabs, and support spaying and neutering of pets. State Sen. Loretta Weinberg, Corzine’s running mate for Lieutenant Governor, has been a leading champion for animals in the state legislature, introducing bills to ban bear hunting and end the inhumane confinement of veal calves in small crates. A Corzine-Weinberg administration is the best choice for voters who care about the humane treatment of animals.

Bob McDonnell is the strongest
candidate for Virginia Governor.

In Virginia, Attorney General Bob McDonnell (R) has demonstrated active leadership to stop animal cruelty and fighting, and HSLF recommends him as the strongest candidate for Virginia Governor. Cockfighting was essentially decriminalized in the commonwealth, until McDonnell made a crackdown on animal fighting part of his legislative agenda. The McDonnell-backed legislation passed in 2008, making cockfighting a felony and banning the possession of fighting animals, and at least five cockfighting rings have been broken up since the new law was enacted. He also joined 25 other Attorneys General in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate a 1999 federal law banning the sale of videos depicting animal cruelty, and when he previously served in the Virginia House of Delegates he supported numerous animal protection bills.

Steve Shannon
HSLF recommends Steve Shannon
for Virginia Attorney General.

The race to replace McDonnell as Attorney General also has strong implications for animals in the commonwealth. State Sen. Ken Cuccinelli (R) has one of the worst records on animal cruelty in the entire country, and has often stood nearly alone in opposing common-sense and mainstream animal welfare reforms. He was one of only two senators to oppose strong penalties for animal fighting, and one of only three to oppose a measure to protect dogs from abusive puppy mills. It would be a major setback for the commonwealth’s top law enforcement officer to be a person like Cuccinelli who opposed having animal protection laws on the books in the first place. HSLF strongly endorses Del. Steve Shannon (D), whose support for the humane treatment of animals stands in stark contrast to Cuccinelli’s obstinate and extreme views.

Voters in Ohio won’t be deciding on statewide candidates, but will be asked whether to support agribusiness-led Issue 2 on the ballot. Agribusiness interests are trying to change the Ohio constitution so they can continue cruel and inhumane practices on factory farms—confining animals in tiny cages and crates so small they can’t even turn around. While masquerading as an attempt to improve food safety and animal welfare, Issue 2 would give unchecked power to an industry-dominated Livestock Board that would maintain the status quo on how animals are treated. HSLF urges Ohio voters to say “No” to this power grab; other opponents of the measure include the Ohio Farmers Union, Ohio League of Women Voters, local humane societies, and newspapers across the state.

If you live in New Jersey, Virginia, or Ohio, please be sure to vote and stand up for animals in tomorrow’s election.


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