October 4, 2006
Animal Protection Group Urges West Virginia Voters to Reelect Byrd for Senate on November 7
WASHINGTON — Citing him as a leader on animal protection policy in the U.S. Senate, the Humane Society Legislative Fund announced that it has endorsed West Virginia’s U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd for reelection to a record ninth Senate term. HSLF described Senator Byrd as one of the strongest champions for animal welfare in Congress.
“In order to pass humane laws, we need humane lawmakers like Senator Robert Byrd. West Virginia residents who care about animal welfare should support his reelection,” said Richard Patch, political director of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.
Senator Byrd in recent years has frequently taken to the Senate floor to condemn animal abuse, including intensive confinement of animals on factory farms and the barbaric practice of cockfighting. He has spoken eloquently about the need to extend minimal humane slaughter protections to all animals raised for food, including more than nine billion chickens, turkeys, and other birds slaughtered each year.
Byrd, as the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, has made it a top priority to secure funding for enforcement of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act and the Animal Welfare Act, and he has succeeded in securing millions for animal welfare programs.
Senator Byrd’s actions have helped to boost funding for enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act by 81% (a cumulative increase of $32 million) over the past six years, which has enabled the agency to hire dozens more inspectors to look out for the welfare of animals at research laboratories, puppy mills, zoos, and the like.
These funding increases have also directed the USDA to spend $14 million specifically to ensure better compliance with the humane slaughter law. Before then, there had never been funds specifically designated for this purpose, and the agency had not taken seriously its enforcement responsibilities under this law, which literally affects billions of animals. And Congress has targeted $800,000 in each of the past few years for USDA to focus on animal fighting cases.
Most recently, Senator Byrd introduced legislation, S. 576, to restore federal protections for wild horses and burros, which they had been afforded for more than three decades under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. The law protecting wild horses and burros from commercial sale and slaughter was gutted in 2004 by Senator Conrad Burns of Montana, when he inserted a “rider” into an omnibus bill to allow these majestic animals to be brutally slaughtered for food exports to France, Belgium, Japan, and other foreign countries.
Senator Byrd also led the fight on the Senate floor last year to stop the slaughter of all American horses for human consumption overseas. He coauthored an amendment with Senator John Ensign of Nevada to prohibit U.S. tax dollars from funding inspections of tens of thousands of thoroughbreds, family ponies, and other American horses slaughtered for food every year. Thanks in part to his strong leadership, the Senate approved this amendment by a landslide vote of 69-28. The U.S. Department of Agriculture circumvented the new law by allowing foreign-owned slaughterhouses to pay for their own inspections, but Byrd and his fellow Senators are now fighting to pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, S. 1915 and H.R. 503, to ban this practice permanently.
Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. 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. Contributions or gifts to HSLF are not tax deductible. Your donation may be used for lobbying to pass laws to protect animals, as well as for political purposes, such as supporting or opposing candidates. HSLF does not accept contributions from business corporations or labor organizations. On the web at www.hslf.org.
Paid for by Humane Society Legislative Fund and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. HSLF, 519 C Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002.