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Humane Society Legislative Fund Launches TV Ad Campaign Opposing Steve King for Congress

Highlights King’s Opposition to a Ban on Taking Children to Dogfights

WASHINGTON (Sept. 24, 2012) -- The Humane Society Legislative Fund, the nation’s leading political organization for animal welfare, launched a new website StopKingofCruelty.com and TV ad campaign in the Sioux City, Des Moines and Rochester/Mason City markets, opposing Steve King’s reelection to Congress.

The TV ad can be viewed here. It tells viewers: “Dogfighting, it’s cruel, vicious and something our children should never be exposed to. But Steve King is the only Iowa member of Congress to oppose a ban on taking children to dogfights, exposing them to violence and criminal activity. Those aren’t Iowa values.”

King has led the fight in Congress to block legislation to crack down on the barbaric practices of dogfighting and cockfighting. During consideration of the 2012 Farm Bill, King led an unsuccessful effort to defeat an amendment to strengthen the federal animal fighting law and make it a crime for an adult to attend or to bring a child to a dogfight or cockfight. Despite King’s efforts, the amendment was approved. The underlying anti-fighting bill, H.R. 2492, has a bipartisan group of 225 House cosponsors, and a Senate amendment on the topic passed with 88 votes.

“King is way out of the mainstream on animal welfare issues. In fact, there’s no federal lawmaker who has worked harder to thwart the enactment of anti-dogfighting legislation than Steve King,” said Dane Waters, political director for the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “He is out of step with Iowa values, and has a callous and uncaring record toward the care of all of God’s creatures.”

A three-year study by the Chicago Police Department found that 70 percent of animal offenders had also been arrested for other felonies, including domestic and aggravated battery, illegal drug trafficking, and sex crimes. That pattern of behavior undoubtedly encouraged the Fraternal Order of Police, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and more than 280 law enforcement agencies from across the country, including 34 from Iowa, to support the current effort in Congress to quash illegal dogfighting and cockfighting, which King opposes.

King is the only federal lawmaker from Iowa to oppose this policy of forbidding adults from bringing children to these spectacles of violence. Both Iowa Senators, Republican Charles Grassley and Democrat Tom Harkin, voted in favor of a similar amendment that passed the Senate by a vote of 88 to 11. Rep. Leonard Boswell voted in favor of the amendment in the House Agriculture Committee, and Reps. Tom Latham, Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack are all co-sponsors of H.R. 2492, the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, which would bar adults from taking kids to animal fighting spectacles. Twenty-seven law enforcement agencies in Iowa’s new 4th Congressional District have also endorsed H.R. 2492.

In a video town hall meeting in late July, King defended his vote against the dogfighting bill, in response to a question from a constituent, saying, “When the legislation that passed in the Farm Bill that says that it’s a federal crime to watch animals fight or to induce someone else to watch an animal fight…there’s something wrong with the priorities of people that think like that.”

The TV ad from HSLF used a clip of King’s words, and concludes: “Yes, something is wrong. Steve King. He’s wrong for Iowa families.”

HSLF noted that King has the worst record on animal cruelty in the U.S. Congress:

  • King also stood alone in Iowa’s delegation in opposing a previous upgrade of the federal law against animal fighting. In 2007, he was one of a just a small group of lawmakers to oppose H.R. 137, a bill to make it a federal felony to transport animals or cockfighting implements across state lines. Again, this legislation was designed to crack down on the national network of illegal animal fighters who routinely operate across state lines. The measure passed the Senate unanimously, and was approved by the House with a commanding vote of 368 to 39. President George W. Bush signed that bill into law just days after Michael Vick’s horrible dogfighting crimes came to light.
  • King was part of a rogue group of lawmakers, in a vote of 349 to 24, to oppose efforts to include pets in disaster planning--this vote, coming in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster in the Gulf Coast, after so many people stayed behind and put themselves and first responders at risk because there were no plans to care for pets. Again, he was the only Iowa lawmaker in the House or Senate to oppose that legislation. President Bush signed it into law in 2006.
  • King puts the safety of our communities at risk. He voted to allow the trade in monkeys, chimpanzees, and other primates across state lines, so they can be acquired as exotic pets. Primates are not pets. Since 1990, more than 200 people, including dozens of children, have been injured by captive primates. Primates pose disease risks, including transmission of tuberculosis and herpes-B virus, but King still voted against banning this dangerous trade.
  • During his past five terms in Congress, Rep. King has earned an average score of 6 percent on the HSLF Scorecard.

Media contact: Heather Sullivan, (301) 548-7778, hsullivan@hslf.org

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HSLF is a nonpartisan organization that evaluates candidates based only on a single criterion: where they stand on animal welfare. HSLF does not judge candidates based on party affiliation or any other issue.

The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. Visit us on all our channels: on the web at hslf.org, on our blog at animalsandpolitics.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/humanelegislation and on Twitter at twitter.com/HSLegFund.

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.