As Wayne Pacelle wrote in his blog today -- Illinois is losing a compassionate leader in GOVERNOR PAT QUINN, who is relinquishing his office after 6 years to newly elected Governor Bruce Rauner. I am sure that the compassionate people of Illinois will hope that Rauner will carry on the caring traditions of Governor Pat Quinn who, per the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), is one of the nation's most pro-animal governors.
I didn't read the HSUS report until today, and now hope that someone like HSUS' Mike Markarian will someday soon start updating the public on how all 50 state governors are doing in terms of caring for animals. Mike Markarian already puts out a Humane Scoreboard every Congressional year that shows how our legislators vote on animal issues, so a precedent is there for also profiling all 50 state governors. Based on such information, the public could be ever grateful, as they already are in the case of Quinn, to all governors who show compassionate concern for animals while in office. I have no doubt that Governor Quinn also showed concern and compassion for people, because I have found in all my own years of animal concern that people who care for animals -- without a doubt -- also care about humans. I haven't found the reverse to be true.
On the eve of his departure from office, this good man, Governor Quinn, vetoed a bill that would have, for the first time in 40 years in Illinois, opened up a trophy hunting and commercial trapping season for bobcats. And to the credit of Illinois's two leading papers -- the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times -- they both urged Quinn to veto it. That gives me and anyone who has compassion for animals a good feeling. Evidently, there are good people in Chicago who will speak up for the humane treatment of animals.
Sadly, when I had previously thought of Chicago, I was reminded of the attempt by a compassionate legislator to promote a bill to ban foie gras in Chicago's restaurants. I believe the bill was passed but vetoed by then Mayor Daley. Of course, I lost respect for this mayor, and I sadly and wrongly connected Chicago generally with this uncaring man. Today, I am pleased to have read that Illinois has been blessed with a governor of compassion. I pray that his successor will follow in his compassionate footsteps.
With respect to the bobcat hunting issue, the Chicago Tribune wisely and accurately noted that no one eats bobcat steaks. Bobcats are of course only killed to be mounted as a trophy on some hunter's wall or for the skinning of their prized fur.
Governor Quinn agreed with these sentiments and said "We all have a responsibility to protect and maintain Illinois' wildlife."
Here are other compassionate actions by Governor Quinn:
1. Signing a bill into law last year to ban the possession, sale, or distribution of SHARK FINS within the state of Illinois.
2. His strong advocacy for companion animals. He supported and signed the PUPPY LEMON LAW, which protects pets and consumers who purchase dogs or cats from pet stores. The law holds these stores and their sources accountable for any animals that are sick when purchased.
3. Signing the ANTIFREEZE SAFETY LAW, which mandates the addition of a bittering agent to antifreeze in order to prevent accidental poisoning of children and animals.
4. Strengthening the Humane Care for Animals Act by providing restrictions on the practice of TETHERING DOGS.
5. Mandating TRAINING FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS on handling animals using nonlethal methods.
What a gem the people of Illinois had for a governor for 6 years. In my opinion, the new governor, Bruce Rauner, will have big shoes to fill. I hope that he can and will.
ON THE REVERSE SIDE OF THE COIN IS NEBRASKA'S DEPARTING GOVERNOR, DAVE HEINEMAN. In contrast to Governor Pat Quinn, a man of compassion, HSUS describes Governor Dave Heineman as one of the most ardent ANTI-ANIMAL WELFARE governors. He vetoed a bill introduced by Senator Ernie Chambers to stop the trophy hunting of mountain lions. He signed on to the lawsuit to invalidate California's law restricting the sale of eggs from barren battery cages. And, according to Pacelle, "He's also been a horrid demagogue in defending factory farming, saying that he was going to 'kick HSUS' ass' out of the state. He also unapologetically defends battery cages and gestation crates." Unbelievable that anyone like him was ever made governor of a state.
God bless outgoing Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. May he find success and happiness wherever he goes. The people of Illinois were indeed blessed to have him at the helm for 6 compassionate years.