October 9, 2006
By Loren Drummond
|One party animal welcoming guests at |
the HSLF headquarters on Captiol Hill.
More than 1,000 animal advocates in 40 states gathered at the Humane Society Legislative Fund's Party Animal events Oct. 8 to lend crucial support to pro-animal legislative efforts.
The efforts include six ballot proposals in Arizona, Michigan, Colorado, Florida, California and Portland, Ore., which stand to affect the lives of animals and citizens across the country.
"Animal friendly legislation affects everyone," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., who called in from a Party Animals event in Portland. "The work is far more important than people understand."
Horse Slaughter and Animal Fighting Bills: "Must-Pass" Federal Legislation
Actor and animal advocate Paul Sorvino ("Paulie" from Goodfellas) joined the party from Italy, where it was past midnight. He called for support of the ballot initiatives and for a Senate hearing of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act before the end of the congressional session. The legislation, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives Sept. 7, would end the practice of slaughtering American horses for human consumption abroad.
"If you have a passion for horses, call your congressman, call your senator. Use the power of the telephone and the power of email. They listen, they really do." Sorvino said. "We must get this bill through the Senate."
Time is also running out for the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act to pass the U.S. House. The bill would crack down on illegal dog fighters and cockfighters and has already passed the U.S. Senate unanimously.
A Grassroots Battle for Ballot Victories
Calling in from their jam-packed, cheering headquarters in Arizona and Michigan, campaign directors from two key ballot initiative fights reported on their efforts and asked for nationwide help to secure important victories for animals.
Arizona's "Yes on Prop 204" director Kari Nienstedt told party animals about a recent poll showing 65 percent of Arizona voters favor a statewide ban on gestation crates for breeding pigs and veal crates for young calves. The same poll showed only 16 percent of voters opposed to the ban.
"We need to show all of Arizona and the rest of the country that, given the opportunity, people will choose to vote humanely," Nienstedt said.
Polls also showed Michigan's "No on Proposal 3" effort currently winning with voters. Animal advocates, environmentalists, farmers, faith-based groups and others are rallying to defeat Proposal 3, which would allow the target shooting of mourning doves for the first time in 100 years. "We want to continue Michigan's long tradition and heritage of protecting mourning doves," campaign director Julie Baker said.
"We cannot take these battles for granted. A lot can happen in 30 days," said Michael Markarian, president of HSLF. "The outcomes of these elections can have a lasting impact for animals."
If animal advocates win at the ballot box on Nov. 7, the victories will continue a banner year for animals in Congress and at the state level. In 2006, state legislatures across the country have already passed 65 pro-animal bills and defeated 11 pieces of legislation that would have harmed animals.
Loren Drummond is associate editor of www.hsus.org.
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.