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Humane Society Legislative Fund Urges Ouster of Rep. Scott DesJarlais

DesJarlais Sided with Dogfighting and Cockfighting Interests and Also Tried to Stand in the Way of Enforcing the Horse Protection Act

WASHINGTON (Nov. 1, 2012) -- In his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Scott DesJarlais scored “zero” on the Humane Society Legislative Fund’s ratings of lawmakers, and has been active in efforts to thwart enforcement of the Horse Protection Act and passage of legislation to make it a crime to bring a child to a dogfight or a cockfight.

“Caring for God’s helpless creatures is a measure of character, and Scott DesJarlais has failed that test,” said Michael Markarian, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “He not only voted against an effort to crack down on bringing children to dogfights, but he’s also tried to undermine efforts of the USDA to enforce laws against the criminal practice of horse soring.”

That issue was in the news in Tennessee and throughout the nation after an undercover video investigation into the handling of horses by Jackie McConnell, a former Hall of Fame trainer of Tennessee Walking Horses. McConnell pleaded guilty to violations of federal law and is now facing state anti-cruelty charges. DeJarlais wrote a letter stating he is “concerned” about USDA’s enforcement actions, and believes “they are unacceptable and create great uncertainty for the industry.”

DesJarlais scored a zero out of 100 percent on the Humane Scorecard for the 112th Congress, failing to support a single animal welfare policy and voting against every animal welfare measure that came to the House floor.

DesJarlais has:

  • Voted in the House Agriculture Committee to oppose an amendment to make it a crime for an adult to bring a child to a dogfight or cockfight (AMDT.32/H.R.6083). The amendment was approved by the Agriculture Committee, and the underlying House bill has 226 cosponsors, including 78 Republicans. The Senate passed a similar amendment by a vote of 88 to 11.
  • Voted to allow American trophy hunters to import the heads and hides of polar bears killed for sport in the Arctic, even though polar bears are listed as a threatened species (H.AMDT.1008/H.R. 4089).
  • Voted twice to waste taxpayer dollars on subsidies to massive factory farms, which thrive on taxpayer giveaways that keep animal feed artificially cheap, jeopardize public health, the environment, and animal welfare, while also driving smaller and more humane, sustainable family farms out of business (H.AMDT.124/H.R.1) and (H.AMDT.478/H.R. 2112).
  • Voted to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on the use of aerial gunning, toxic poisons, steel-jawed leghold traps and other inhumane methods of killing predators as a federal subsidy. (H.AMDT.471/H.R.2112).
  • Not co-sponsored any of the bills to crack down on puppy mills, end the use of chimpanzees in invasive experiments, or reform the egg industry which is the top legislative priority for that agriculture sector.

Media contact: Anna West, (301) 258-1518, awest@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.