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Monday, January 14, 2013

Hot Off the Press: The 2012 Humane Scorecard

Before the November election, I posted a preliminary version of the 2012 Humane Scorecard, and last week, after the conclusion of Congress’ “lame-duck” session, I provided a look at our year in review for animals. We made some modest progress, but the 112th Congress left a lot of unfinished business on animal protection issues, paving the way for a challenging new session.

Scorecard_inset_2012I’m pleased to announce today that the Humane Society Legislative Fund has posted the final version of the 2012 Humane Scorecard, where you can track the performance of your federal lawmakers on key animal protection issues during the two-year session of the 112th Congress. We rated legislators based on their votes on issues such as agribusiness subsidies, criminal penalties for attendance at animal fighting spectacles, and a pro-gun, anti-wildlife package; their cosponsorship of priority bills on eggs and hen housing, chimps warehoused in research labs, animal fighting, and puppy mills; their support for funding the enforcement of animal welfare laws; and their leadership on animal protection measures. All of the priority bills whose cosponsorships we counted garnered strong bipartisan support; in the House, they ranged from 154 to 228 cosponsors, and in the Senate from 18 to 33.

The Humane Scorecard is not a perfect measuring tool, but creating some reasonable yardstick and allowing citizens to hold lawmakers accountable is central to our work. The HSUS historically and in recent years HSLF have been publishing the Humane Scorecard since the 103rd Congress (which covered 1993-1994), so this annual congressional snapshot has been available for two decades.

When the Humane Scorecard comes out each year, it helps demonstrate the level of support animal protection ideas hold in different regions of the country and with the two major political parties. It provides a look back and a look ahead by evaluating where we have been effective, and where we need to focus our energies in the coming months. In looking at the record for the 112th Congress, you’ll see that much more needs to be done, and we are ready to move forward in the new 113th Congress.

Here are a few of the most important statistics from 2012:

  • The average Senate score was a 51, with Senate Democrats averaging 59, Senate Republicans averaging 41, and Senate Independents averaging 93.
  • The average House score was a 42, with House Democrats averaging 75, and House Republicans averaging 16.
  • Nine Senators scored 100 or 100+.
  • No Senators scored zero.
  • Sixty-one Representatives scored 100 or 100+.
  • Ninety Representatives scored zero.
  • The New England region led the pack with an average House score of 85 and an average Senate score of 77, followed closely by the Mid-Atlantic region with a House score of 64 and a Senate score of 62, and the West with a House score of 58 and a Senate score of 66.
  • The Rocky Mountains and the Southeast were at the bottom with average House scores of 24 and 26, respectively, and average Senate scores of 37 and 39.
  • There was no state with an average Senate score of 100, nor any state in which both Senators scored zero.
  • Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont were the only states with an average House score above 80, and of them, only Rhode Island had an average House score of 100.
  • Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming were the only states with an average House score of zero, while Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Utah had an average House score in single digits.
I’d like to give special thanks to the following three Senators and 25 Representatives who scored the highest possible 100+, meaning they had a perfect score on animal protection and also provided key leadership on a particular issue or issues:
  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)
  • Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)
  • Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.)
  • Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.)
  • Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.)
  • Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.)
  • Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.)
  • Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.)
  • Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.)
  • Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.)
  • Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.)
  • Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.)
  • Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.)
  • Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)
  • Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)
  • Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.)
  • Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.)
  • Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.)
  • Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.)
  • Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.)
  • Rep. Ed Towns (D-N.Y.)
  • Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio)
  • Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.)
  • Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.)
  • Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.)
  • Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.)
  • Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.)
I hope you will use the Humane Scorecard as a guide, and communicate with your lawmakers about their grades for 2012. If they scored high marks, please thank them for their support of animal protection. If they did poorly, please tell them you’re watching and you expect they’ll attempt to do better in 2013. Let all your federal legislators know that you and other constituents care about the humane treatment of animals, and want to see common-sense policies enacted to protect these creatures from cruelty and abuse and to foster decency and mercy in our dealings with all types of animals.


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