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Steve King Can’t Hide from His Record on Animal Fighting

King Campaign Pressures TV Stations into Rejecting Anti-Dogfighting Ad, Falsely Portrays His Broader Record on Animal Cruelty Issues

WASHINGTON (Sept. 25, 2012) --The Humane Society Legislative Fund criticized Rep. Steve King for trying to shield his anti-animal voting record by apparently pressuring several Iowa TV stations into not running a paid TV ad explaining that he is out of step with his own state.

“What is Steve King trying to hide from Iowa voters?” said Dane Waters, political director for the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “He knows that he is on the wrong side of Iowa values on animal cruelty and a concern for all of God’s creatures.”

While King would like to portray the ads as somehow false, the facts are that he 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 in the House Agriculture Committee 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.

“The federal law against animal fighting was used to prosecute Michael Vick and other people who put dogs through hell for their amusement,” added Waters. “King has opposed strengthening this law at every turn. His colleagues know that if our nation is to root out this inhumane practice, we have to have strong laws to combat it.”

King is the only federal lawmaker from Iowa to oppose this policy of forbidding adults from attending animal fights or 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. More than 280 law enforcement agencies, including 27 in Iowa’s new 4th Congressional District, have also endorsed H.R. 2492.

In a video town hall meeting in late July, King attempted lamely to defend 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.”

This also wasn’t the first time Steve King stood alone in Iowa’s delegation in opposing an 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.

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 perent 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.

“It’s easy for a professional politician to say he’s against animal cruelty,” notes Waters. “But the acid test is their voting record. Time and again, King votes against the most modest animal welfare reforms.  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 state laws on animal welfare, but he’s trying to wipe those out too.”

HSLF has launched a new website, StopKingofCruelty.com, with more facts about Steve King’s record on animal welfare issues, and to show the TV ad that King doesn’t want voters to see.

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.