October 19, 2008
Listen to the call (6.6 MB)
|Animal advocates Liz Pardue, Jessica Lieberson, Jeff |
Lieberson and Janet Pardue at HSLF's offices on Capitol Hill.
Animal advocates from all across the United States gathered at the Humane Society Legislative Fund's Party Animals events October 19 to learn how they can effectively come together to form a "Humane Voting Bloc" to give animals a voice in the voting booth this November.
HSLF President Michael Markarian led the call from a party in Michigan's 9th Congressional District, where HSLF has been focused on defeating Congressman Joe Knollenberg, one of the worst enemies of animal welfare on Capitol Hill. Markarian was joined in Michigan by HSLF's executive director, Sara Amundson, and political director, Richard Patch, who were on the ground with volunteers from all across Michigan to help spread the word about Joe Knollenberg's terrible record.
Markarian opened the call by reminding animal advocates of a statewide ballot initiative in California which seeks to curb some of the worst abuses in agribusiness. Voters in the Golden State will have the opportunity to stop cruel and inhumane treatment of animals on industrial factory farms by passing Prop 2.
California voters will be asked whether animals should be given basic humane treatment, or should spend nearly their entire lives in cages so small they can’t even turn around and stretch their limbs. Veal calves are chained by the neck, pigs are kept in metal cages barely larger than their bodies, hens have less space than a letter-sized sheet of paper. Voting "Yes" on the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act will help protect animals from such extreme abuse.
Markarian then shifted the focus from ballot measures toward HSLF's goals of helping to elect humane legislators this election season.
"The stakes are so high for animals all over the country [this election season]", said Markarian. "We can never pass humane laws unless we elect humane lawmakers. We need to get the right people elected to federal and state office who are going to advocate for animal protection and who are going to vote on the side of the animals."
The presidential contest was among the races Markarian highlighted as he discussed the reasons behind HSLF's endorsement of the Obama-Biden ticket on Nov. 4.
|Kelley Dupps shows off her "Animal Lover, Registered Voter"|
bumper sticker at the DC party.
"We looked at the candidates and we looked at the records of Senator Obama and Senator McCain, and Senator Obama has been more supportive of animal issues," said Markarian. "But what really cemented our decision was John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his vice presidential candidate. Governor Palin, in Alaska, has perhaps the worst record on animal issues than any of the 50 governors in the United States."
Markarian outlined Palin's retrograde policies, like encouraging the shooting of wolves from helicopters and denying protections for threatened polar bears.
"It would be a real setback to have Sarah Palin in the White House."
To close out the call, animal advocates then heard from the special guest for the Humane Bloc Party, cartoonist and comedian Dan Piraro, the creator of the "Bizarro" cartoon strip and a strong voice for animal protection and the humane treatment of all animals.
Piraro's nationally syndicated cartoon strip often highlights issues of animal protection, and his advice to animal advocates on the call in advance of Election Day was pretty straightforward: "Obviously, we know what we have to do. We have to vote."
Paid for by Humane Society Legislative Fund and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. HSLF, 519 C Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002.