As I read the articles in Humane Activist for January and February '09,
my eyes filled with tears -- tears of joy. The first article spoke about the race for Michigan's 9th congressional district. Prior to the election, The Humane Society Legislative Fund had released a TV spot highlighting the miserable animal protection record of Rep. Joe Knollenberg during his 16-year House tenure. Among animal issues he OPPOSED HALTING were: horse slaughter, dairy cow abuse, polar bear trophy hunting, and animal fighting.
HSLF's commercial gave a boost to challenger Gary Peters, and he became the first Democrat to hold the seat since 1893. As executive director of HSLF, Sara Amundson observes --it was the "perfect storm"-- an anti-animal legislator out of step with his suburban, humane-minded constituents, squaring off against a former state senator who had demonstrated support for animal causes. My eyes watered with tears of joy. Sixteen years of lack of concern for animal suffering was over for this individual congressperson -who was clearly lacking in animal compassion.
HSLF was also happy to report that 93 percent of the 312 congressional candidates endorsed by them won their races this past November. It shows that animal lovers were clearly on board with HSLF's mantra --"To pass humane laws, voters must elect humane lawmakers." I hope we never forget this message.
Michael Markarian, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, also noted that election day for the National Rifle Association was rough this time around. They spent millions of dollars supporting John McCain for president while trying to tarnish Barack Obama's image. And to their chagrin, the states in which they were most active: Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the other swing states went to Obama.
In a post-election analysis of federal candidates by the NRA and those endorsed by HSLF-- Makarian notes : "...the puppy power clearly outshot the gunpowder." HSLF was the victor 74.4 % of the time.
Some of the the NRA's staunchest loyalists did hang on: Reps. Scott Garrett, R-NJ; Sam Graves, R-MO; and Don Young, R-Alaska, but the NRA's influence seems clearly on the wane. The NRA opposes sensible HSLF-backed policy reforms such as stopping the black market trade in bear parts, banning captive shoots that offer customers guaranteed kills, and halting the aerial gunning of wolves. They fail to take in account a small constituency of women, suburban voters, and minorities who back HSLF policies --thereby driving them further away from their gun-bearing ideologies.
Four legislative leaders were profiled in this issue as well. The first -Senator Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH replaced incumbent John E. Sununu- a one-term senator who scored a ZERO on HSLF's Humane Scoreboard for the 110th Congress. As governor of New Hampshire, Shaheen worked to clean up the puppy mills, implement harsher penalties re animal fighting laws, promoted sheltering dogs in inclement weather, and supported spay/neutering policies to lessen pet over population.
Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. succeeded two-term incumbent Gordon Smith, who scored a 33 on the Humane Scoreboard. During his 10 years as a state representative, Merkley backed pro-wildlife bills, supported penalites for people involved in animal fighting, worked to ban tiny gestation crates for pigs on factory farms, voted to keep pets and their families together during disasters, worked to prohibit the sale
of fur from dogs and cats, and worked to protect the nation's food supply from sick and crippled farm animals.
Two "old" congressional friends of the animals are Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash. who has established himself as a strong animal advocate, scoring 100 on the Humane Scoreboard for the 110th Scoreboard and Rep.Mark Kirk, R-Ill. who has always scored high marks on the Humane Scorecard and has been a leader on animal issues during his four terms. To me, the smiling faces of these compassionate congresspeople gave me an incredibly warm feeling knowing that the animals do indeed have friends in "high" places.
BALLOT BOX VICTORIES. Mentioned in this newsletter were two ballot box victories for the animals. More than 8 million people voted for PROPOSITION 2 on California's November ballot that will impact the state's 20 million farm animals. It is a modest beginning, but "when the law takes effect in 2015, breeding sows, veal calves, and egg-laying hens will be required to have enough room to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs, and turn around freely." Can you imagine that since the 70's these poor animals were denied these "luxuries" all because of the Cafo "model" Pres. Reagon allowed to take shape. Sadly, they still
have a long wait before 2015, but if there are any compassionate Cafo owners out there -hopefully they will begin NOW to start making these compassionate changes.
And titled - The End of the Road? refers to the end of a cruel sport which uses greyhound dogs so badly in gambling races. One state though has said that starting in 2010- there will be a statewide ban on greyhound racing and that state is Massachusetts. That means that there won't be any more injured greyhounds in this state from racing accidents or will you find the greyhounds crammed into tiny cages in warehouse-like kennels. And lastly, none of them will be killed by ungrateful owners when they are spent and can no longer run.
This 8 page brochure has much more important and helpful news for anyone who cares about animals. I was so glad to come on another of their wonderful pieces and it was titled "NAVIGATING DECEPTION IN THE FUR INDUSTRY." After finding out about the millions of raccoon dogs skinned alive in China, I have thought about them and whispered a prayer for them each day. How sad that we can't do anything to stop this horror. Of course the only thing we can do is make sure that we don't buy anything made of animal fur. The HSUS has found that many unsuspecting consumers have been duped into buying fur which has been labeled as fake fur, but which in reality, is real animal
fur. According to HSUS "With today's market dominated by fur trim and cheap imports from China --where an HSUS investigation found cats and dogs being killed for fur exported to foreign markets---many garments slip through the loophole" (in the federal fur labeling law).
If you want to test whether you have been buying real dog or cat fur- there are 3 tests:
1. BURN TEST --Remove a few hairs and ignite them over a non-flammable surface. Faux fur emanates a plastic odor, while animal furs smells similar to burnt human hair.
2. VISUAL TEST --Push apart the hairs to see if the backing is animal skin or a woven, grid-like fabric, which indicates faux fur.
3. ONLINE TEST --Zoom in on pictures of the garment ad and look for tapering of the guard hairs. Check for inconsistency in labeling among Web pages, and once the garment arrives, inspect it carefully.
By going to the HSUS site - you can get more information and pointers re this and how to get your money back if you suspect you have inadvertantly purchased animal fur which you didn't want. I think if the stores get a lot of returned goods falsely advertized, they will be more careful in this regard and will do a better joy of screening and labeling their products.
This page also has a HOW CONSUMERS CAN HELP if you are concerned about stopping the horrors which those raccoon dogs and even cats go through for this "fashion" statement. I don't need fur - what about you? I don't even want to buy the faux fur for obvious reasons of being duped.