President Obama has been a real let-down for me and maybe for you as well--though probably for different reasons. I really thought, when President Obama was elected the first time, that we had elected a man of compassion who would reach out to animals as well as humans.
How very wrong I was then, and have been since. The only reason I voted for Obama the second time is that I'm a Democrat and didn't think Romney would be caring and compassionate. I hoped that Obama would be. Sadly, I was wrong.
Generally, according to the "Humane Scoreboard" of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), more Democrats than Republicans vote affirmatively for animal welfare laws. So I'm disappointed that this Democratic president doesn't measure up when it comes to animal welfare issues.
With respect to these issues, I think Obama's second term in office is even worse than his first. I was horrified to read in an HSUS blog this week that his administration has sought to nullify two critical state animal cruelty laws. In doing so, it is putting Obama in the same camp as Republican congressman Steve King of Iowa, whose King Amendment to the Farm Bill also seeks to reverse compassionate state bills for animal welfare.
You remember Rep. Steve King, don't you? He recently said that the Mexicans crossing our southern border have "cantelope" calves, because
of the heavy stashes of drugs they bring over. He seems not only to not care about animals, but is even lacking in good manners when it comes to his view of Mexican immigrants.
And let's not forget his views on dog fighting. Rep. King believes that dog fights should be family entertainment. Bring the kids along. [See http.//hsus.typepad.com/wayne/2012/rep-king-animal-fighting.html.] I cringed when I first read this. I cringed again when I found out that he is a Catholic. But, then, I really shouldn't have been so surprised, since the Catholic church has no REAL compassionate teaching regarding animals.
How Is the Obama Administration Seeking to Nullify State Cruelty Laws?
According to the HSUS, the Chinese-American business associates representing shark-finning interests told a panel of three federal judges in
the 9th District Court of Appeals that a California law to ban the sale and possession of shark fins, which was passed by the state legislature and signed by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, should be struck down because it is discriminatory. The State of California, the HSUS, and other groups have rightly defended the law as a legitimate expression of state authority.
What was most surprising to the two opposing sides involved in this case
was the presence of a third litigant: THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. If
you think that party would surely argue on the side of compassion, you would be wrong.
Through the Department of Justice, the administration weighed in with an amicus brief asking the court to overturn the California law banning the sale and possession of shark fins. Its argument was that the National Marine Fisheries Service regulates shark fishing in U.S. waters, and only it--not the states--can regulate the sale of shark-based products in state markets.
This is one time I agree with the Republicans. The less the federal government regulates, the better! It seems to be that President Obama is trying to ingratiate himself with the Chinese, and economics is all that matters to him. What about compassion?
It is also obvious that this president cares not one bit for animals. If he did, he would have considered how horribly the sharks suffer to provide indulgent, uncaring people with gourmet shark fin soup.
A couple of years ago, I watched a 60 Minutes report that explained how Chinese and Japanese fishermen haul hapless sharks on board their vessels and cut off their fins. The sharks are then tossed overboard to land on the ocean floor and die. This is cruelty--plain and simple. Too bad the fishermen can't envision undergoing the same horrors themselves as the poor sharks they send to a watery grave.
This practice is no way to treat a fellow living creature, even if it is a non-human being. Do sharks feel pain? Of course they do. Then why do we do this to them? Shark Fin soup does not address a hunger issue. If it did, the whole shark would be utilized.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised about Obama's lack of compassion. I heard that when he and his family were in France on vacation, they ordered foie gras--another cruel dish. Clearly, more evidence of the president's lack of concern for animal suffering.
A Shameful Second Successful Effort To Invalidate a California Statute
Its involvement in opposing the shark fin ban in California is not the first time the Obama Administration has tried to invalidate a California animal protection statute. It also submitted an amicus brief in support of the meat industry's challenge to California's ANTI-DOWNER LAWS.
This astounds me. The HSUS had successfully exposed the inhumane
treatment and slaughter of meat animals that were too sick or injured to walk. The practice was to beat and kick them in an effort to force them into the slaughter line. The Obama administration, however, argued that the Federal Meat Inspection Act preempted California's law.
The California law was at first upheld by the 9th district court, but it was then appealed to the Supreme Court, where, not surprisingly, the ruling of the 9th district court was overruled. Too bad we don't have Supreme Court justices of the calibre of the compassionate judges on the 9th district court.
Today, "thanks" to the Obama Administration, downer pigs still continue to be abused and slaughtered at federal meat processing facilities, including those in California.
Sadly, according to the HSUS, "...this Administration is threatening very
meaningful animal-welfare lawmaking at the state level. Traditionally, it is the states that have provided the strongest standards against cruelty.... [In] eight state legislatures that passed bans on shark fin products, it was 914 'ayes' and 87 'noes.' Why would the Obama Administration substitute its judgment for that of nearly a thousand state lawmakers who acted in the interest of their own states and citizens?"
At this juncture, I think that, had I known about Obama's lack of concern
for the animals, I may have voted for Romney. Who knows? He may not have taken this uncaring path in response to two compassionate animal welfare acts.
The HSUS Weighs in on Why the Government Is Interfering with States' Rights
According to the HSUS, it is obvious that the government is aligning
itself with the meat industry and shark finning interests. The government is even also arguing that only it can speak on these matters. I wondered, since when has this been the case?
The HSUS provides us with possible answers to both these questions:
"It's hard to know--but in both cases the agencies involved, the U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] on the downers and the National Marine Fisheries Service on finning, have developed cozy relationships with the industries they regulate. The USDA goes out of its way to promote industrial animal agriculture, and NMFS works hand-in-hand with many sectors of the fishing industry, including people who kill sharks and then want to trade in their parts."
Yes, this makes a lot of sense. I have had little regard and respect for the USDA for many years, and it is obvious to me now that that agency cares very little about the animals it is commissioned to oversee. Both the USDA and the President should take the time to read the Animal Welfare Act again--but it seems to me they haven't got a clue.
I used to wonder why there weren't leadership changes made at the USDA. Now I know. The president is walking in lockstep with many of their callous policies regarding the welfare of animals and fish.
Can changes be made to correct this very wrong path the President and the USDA have taken? It seems to me that our Founding Fathers' idea of checks and balances--supposedly a fool-proof method of governing--is no longer working.
If you read this post carefully...based on HSUS findings, we are in a fight for state rights versus federal rights, and, unfortunately for the animals, the uncaring people in the federal government seem to be winning. But let us not give up hope. The farm animals and the sharks need us. I think it wouldn't hurt to pray that somehow the animals' needs are addressed.
As for President Obama, how will history paint him? Personally, I doubt he will be considered a great president. I once was disappointed that he calls himself a "black" president, when clearly this is not factual. He is bi-racial and, in my opinion, he doesn't give his white family the due they deserve. They were the ones who raised and educated him.
But now, I no longer care what he calls himself. I had high hopes that a BI-RACIAL president would incorporate the good from both sides of his family and that that good would include compassion. Well, it seems that hope has been in vain.