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Friday, September 28, 2012

The Facts on Steve King’s Disappointing Animal Welfare Record

The Humane Society Legislative Fund today launched a new TV ad in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District opposing Steve King’s reelection to Congress. The ad responds to King’s recent claims that he loves animals and opposes dogfighting, and gives viewers the facts about his disappointing voting record on animal welfare—voting against including pets in disaster plans, against strengthening the penalties for interstate dogfighting, and even against a federal ban on bringing children to dogfights and cockfights.

Our previous TV ad exposing Steve King’s voting record on dogfighting laws in Congress was rejected by Iowa TV stations after King complained and pressured the stations not to show it. The Des Moines Register said in an editorial today that the ad is “accurate” and “true” and the TV stations’ rejection of it is “puzzling.” Here’s what the Register had to say about the controversy:

Several Iowa television stations are refusing to air an ad from an animal welfare political group. The Washington-based Humane Society Legislative Fund criticizes King, R-Kiron, for opposing legislation that bans interstate dog fighting and that would ban people from taking children to animal fights.

Paul Fredericksen, general manager of KCCI-TV, said his station refused the ad due to its “sensational tone” and “the graphic treatment of animal photos and a Web site address.”

However, the ad is no more disturbing than ads that regularly run on television, including a commercial featuring singer Sarah McLachlan raising money to help abused animals.

Ray Cole, president of Citadel Communications, which owns WOI-TV in West Des Moines and KCAU-TV in Sioux City, said his company’s objections to the Humane Society ad weren’t due to the images. Citadel stations aren’t running the ad because “we believe the message is patently false,” Cole said.

The ad says that King is the only Iowa member of Congress to oppose a ban on taking children to dog fights. The animal welfare group points to King’s legislative voting record as evidence the claim is true. Rather than disputing the record, King takes issue with the political group itself and says he loves dogs, including his own.


So a new standard to reject “patently false” advertising is refreshing, and the public should expect those setting such a standard will apply it to all advertisements—not just to one about an incumbent lawmaker’s record on animal abuse legislation that happens to be, well, true.

While King says he is an animal lover, his record tells an entirely different story: He’s the self-appointed leader of the fight to block any animal welfare legislation, and he’s amassed the record to match that goal. He scored 10 percent on the Humane Scorecard for the 108th Congress, zero out of 100 percent for the 109th Congress, 8 percent for the 110th Congress, 13 percent for the 111th Congress, and zero for the 112th Congress—the only Iowa member of Congress who failed to support any animal welfare provisions during this session. Now, he has a provision in the Farm Bill to invalidate a whole host of local and state animal protection laws. He says he’s for states’ rights when it’s convenient, and he says he’s for federal authority at other times. The only thing he’s consistent on when it comes to animal welfare policies: he’s against them all.

It’s easy for a professional politician to say he’s against animal cruelty. But the acid test is their voting record. Time and again, Steve King votes against the most modest animal welfare reforms. He is out of step with Iowa values, and has a callous and uncaring record toward the care of all of God’s creatures.

Thankfully, the controversy over our TV ad being rejected has led to more than 10,000 people watching it online, which is available at I hope you’ll watch it and share with your friends, and consider supporting HSLF and our work to hold politicians like Steve King accountable and pass laws to protect animals from cruelty and abuse.

Paid for by Humane Society Legislative Fund and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. HSLF, 2100 L Street NW, Suite 310, Washington, D.C., 20037


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