Monday, September 29, 2008

Obama vs. McCain and Animal Rights Legislation as the President

The HSUS has endorsed Obama for president. You can see their message here -

http://hslf.typepad.com/political_animal/2008/09/humane-society.html

Sadly though, as stated below, “…neither a President Obama nor a President McCain will do anything to seriously advance animal rights.”

Yet, the article does state that Obama is the better choice for those interested in seeing positive legislation helping animals. “Obama is generally more receptive than his opponents to animal welfare and animal protection legislation, though he is not a leader. Like, say, Dennis Kucinich.”

Ultimately though, both parties usually bend down to industry vs. true animal concerns. As stated below, “For folks hoping for more radical change, neither of the major two parties offers anything. The above scorecard shows how the political climate prevents all but the most limited attempts at advancing animals' interests from even getting on the legislative docket….On the flip side, animal industries have found Congress an easy venue for expanding legislation (the AETA) picking out those animal and environmental activists who commit violent acts and damage property as deserving greater punishment than activists using those tactics to further other causes. Neither presidential candidate blocked the bill when it passed by unanimous consent, but Obama did put the bill in context…”

Article:

The elections and animal law

http://hcb.typepad.com/hounded_cowed_badgered/2008/09/
the-presidential-candidates-and-animal-law.html

The lobbying wing of the Humane Society of the United States has endorsed Barack Obama for President. Earlier posts, here and here, by blogger and animal-legislation expert Michael Markarian spotlighted the records of senators Obama and McCain on animal welfare. From an animal welfare perspective, the endorsement is no doubt the right choice. As the lobby's latest Humane Scorecard shows, Obama is generally more receptive than his opponents to animal welfare and animal protection legislation, though he is not a leader. Like, say, Dennis Kucinich.

For folks hoping for more radical change, neither of the major two parties offers anything. The above scorecard shows how the political climate prevents all but the most limited attempts at advancing animals' interests from even getting on the legislative docket. To the extent that any large scale animal protection (i.e., protection from humans) occurs, it happens as part of already existing environmental regimes. On the flip side, animal industries have found Congress an easy venue for expanding legislation (the AETA) picking out those animal and environmental activists who commit violent acts and damage property as deserving greater punishment than activists using those tactics to further other causes. Neither presidential candidate blocked the bill when it passed by unanimous consent, but Obama did put the bill in context (hat tip: Green is the New Red).

I don't know anyone who votes on animal issues alone (I do not), but such single-minded voters should consider third parties. Even progressive third parties, however, only rarely call for outright bans on certain animal practices. The strongest animal-related proposal in the Socialist Party USA platform is a ban on animal testing for consumer products. The Green Party platform endorses a "phase-out" of such testing. Still, these parties offers more than the Democrats, whose platform contains nothing positive on animals and promises to "open millions of new acres of land to public hunting and fishing" and the GOP, whose platform, less specifically, calls for public "access to public lands for recreational activities such as hunting, hiking, and fishing." Absent a vegan revelation (join with me in prayer, fellow religious vegans), neither a President Obama nor a President McCain will do anything to seriously advance animal rights.

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