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Monday, July 26, 2010

New Online Tools to Take Action for Animals

I joined nearly 1,000 animal advocates from across the country this weekend at HSUS’s sixth annual Taking Action for Animals conference here in Washington, where attendees heard from Nigel Barker, Wayne Pacelle, Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., and other leaders and experts in the animal welfare field. And today, hundreds of those who attended also rallied on Capitol Hill with actress Wendie Malick and Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., and lobbied their own lawmakers in favor of critical animal protection policies—dealing with crush videos, fur labeling, puppy mills, horse slaughter, and the protection of wild mustangs.

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The Taking Action for Animals conference is about providing advocates with new tools so they can be more effective in making a difference for animals in their own communities. In the spirit of the annual training conference, the Humane Society Legislative Fund used the weekend activities as an opportunity to introduce an exciting new tool we’ve developed so advocates can track where their legislators stand on animal protection issues—the Humane Scoreboard.

Many of you are regular users of our annual report cards published at the end of each legislative year, where we rate lawmakers on their actions for animals in Congress and report on the year’s progress on animal protection policies. Now, we’re pleased to launch a brand-new online tool, the Humane Scoreboard, which will be continuously updated year-round to provide a real-time snapshot of where U.S. senators and representatives stand on animal protection legislation, votes and policies.

This unique site is updated as new bills are introduced, new votes occur and new co-sponsors are added to animal protection bills. The site provides animal advocates with a day-to-day snapshot of their legislators’ efforts to protect animals. You will instantly know how your legislator voted on important federal legislation, like last week’s landslide vote in the U.S. House to ban the trafficking in obscene crush videos, and tomorrow’s scheduled House vote to require accurate labeling of fur-trimmed apparel.

We hope you will use the Humane Scoreboard to track your legislators’ progress and encourage them to continue making strides for animals in Congress. This new site also allows you to chart our progress and how the animal protection movement is doing geographically, by party affiliation, and in other categories.

Animal protection has always presented serious moral questions to thinking people, but now more than ever, it is being treated as a serious issue on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers are debating policies that have enormous implications for animals. Now you have a one-stop-shop to determine your legislator’s positions and the state of animal protection legislation in Congress. I hope you will check out the Humane Scoreboard today.

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