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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Recognizing Humane Legislators

Last evening HSLF and HSUS hosted our annual congressional Humane Awards, where we honored a bipartisan group of legislators who led the way for animals during the last year. Several dozen members of Congress and their staff attended the event in the U.S. Capitol, and we celebrated the federal lawmakers who are using their time and talents to make the world a better place for animals. Click here to view photos from the event.

Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Calif.
HSUS President & CEO Wayne Pacelle; Rep. Elton Gallegly,
R-Calif.; and HSLF President Mike Markarian

The top awards went to U.S. Reps. Elton Gallegly, R-Calif., and Jim Moran, D-Va., who were honored as the 2010 Humane Legislators of the Year. Gallegly and Moran are co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, and they are working to organize animal advocates in Congress and get them involved in the cause.

The Humane Legislator of the Year award recognizes federal lawmakers who have initiated path-breaking animal protection legislation and demonstrably advanced reform in the policy-making arena. Both Gallegly and Moran demonstrated effectiveness in 2010 as lead sponsors of key animal protection bills that were enacted into law during the “lame-duck” session.

Rep. Gallegly was the lead author of the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which immediately banned the creation and distribution of obscene animal torture videos that show the intentional crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating and impaling of puppies, kittens, and other live animals for the titillation of viewers. The U.S. Supreme Court in April 2010 struck down a 1999 statute banning video depictions of animal cruelty as being “overbroad” but left the door open for a more narrowly crafted bill targeting crush videos. Rep. Gallegly championed the successful effort, with Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., Sens. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Richard Burr, R-N.C., and other lawmakers, to get a new federal law on the books.

Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va.
Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va. speaks with Wayne

Rep. Moran was the lead author of the Truth in Fur Labeling Act, with Reps. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., and Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., and Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and David Vitter, R-La.,to bring much-needed disclosure and accuracy to the labeling of fur-trimmed apparel. A loophole in the federal fur labeling law had previously allowed garments with $150 worth of fur or less to be sold without disclosing the fur content on the label. But thanks to this new act, labels will be required regardless of dollar value, giving shoppers important product information. Rep. Moran also championed efforts in the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee that he chaired to protect wild horses, promote adoption of alternatives to animal tests by the Environmental Protection Agency, and allow the EPA to collect greenhouse gas emissions data from the largest factory farms.

In addition to the top awards for Reps. Gallegly and Moran:

  • Humane Champion awards went to 20 legislators who took the lead on animal welfare legislation and also received a perfect score on the 2010 Humane Scorecard.

  • Legislative Leader awards went to 99 legislators for their leadership as prime sponsors of pro-animal legislation.

  • Humane Advocate awards went to 25 legislators who received a perfect score on the 2010 Humane Scorecard.

In total, 146 legislators—more than one-third of the Senate and one-quarter of the House (representing 38 states and two U. S. territories)—received awards for their work in 2010. We’re grateful to all of these members of Congress who are helping to forge a path to a more humane future through their demonstrated leadership on animal protection legislation, and we congratulate them as recipients of the 2010 Humane Awards. Click here to view photos from the event.

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