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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Pombo Comeback Would Be Catastrophe for Animals

In a year that could spell trouble for long-serving incumbents, as voters are fed up with Washington insiders and politics as usual, it seems unlikely that a former seven-term congressman with ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff could stage a comeback. But that’s what former Rep. Richard Pombo is trying to do—by moving to another district.

Richard Pombo

Northern California voters in the 11th congressional district ousted Pombo and his malversation in 2006. So he’s moved southeast, deeper into the Central Valley, and he’s taking a run at the 19th district seat left open by Rep. George Radanovich’s retirement. It’s a solidly Republican district, and the action will be in the crowded GOP primary where state Sen. Jeff Denham, Fresno City Councilman Larry Westerlund, and Fresno Mayor Jim Patterson are all vying for the nomination.

HSLF played a role in the 2006 contest, citing Pombo as “one of the most extreme and corrupt members of Congress,” running radio ads and going door-to-door in the district to educate voters about Pombo’s cruel and shameful record. We pointed out that during his seven terms in Congress, Pombo opposed animal welfare at nearly every turn, and detailed a few of his positions:

  • Pombo protects dogfighters and cockfighters. He voted against funding for enforcement of laws to combat illegal dogfighting and cockfighting.
  • Pombo supports the barbaric slaughter of America’s horses. He voted repeatedly to promote the slaughter of horses for human consumption, even though Californians voted to outlaw horse slaughter by statewide ballot initiative in 1998 (Proposition 6).
  • Pombo consistently supports spending taxpayer dollars on animal abuse. He supported taxpayer subsidies for trophy hunting of African elephants and the luxury mink coat industry.
  • Pombo allows trophy hunters to kill wildlife on our public lands. He voted to support the continuation of cruel and unsporting practices such as bear baiting on federal lands, even though bear hunters in California are prohibited from using bait, and the use of steel-jawed leghold traps on National Wildlife Refuges, even though California voters outlawed the use of these traps by passing Proposition 4 in 1998.
  • Pombo supports dragging sick and injured livestock to slaughterhouses. He voted to allow farm animals to be dragged with chains and pushed into slaughterhouses with bulldozers for human consumption. Processing these “downer” livestock is a tremendous threat to public health, since these animals are far more likely to carry Mad Cow Disease and other risks to our food supply. California state law and a USDA regulation both ban the processing of downers.
  • Pombo supports killing whales, dolphins, seals, and polar bears. He’s the only member of Congress who has advocated for the resumption of commercial whaling by Japan and Norway.

Richard Pombo couldn’t have a more terrible record on animal protection issues. He’s received tens of thousands of dollars from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff for influence peddling; he receives money from almost every political action committee that fosters animal abuse; and for many years he was the leading opponent of animal welfare in the entire Congress. Pombo is too close to the special interests and too extreme for California.

You can be sure that HSLF will be keeping an eye on this race, as the outcome could be critically important for animal protection policies at the federal level. The primary will be held on June 8.

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