Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Michael Markarian: Animals & Politics

Michael Markarian: Animals & Politics

Link to Michael Markarian: Animals & Politics

Arizonans Protect Animals and Voting Rights

Posted: 05 Nov 2008 01:02 AM CST

California's Proposition 2 and Massachusetts' Question 3 were not the only victories for animals tonight on statewide ballot measures. Arizonans soundly rejected Proposition 105, which would have made it nearly impossible to pass any future ballot initiative dealing with animal protection.

If Prop 105 had passed, any new ballot initiative would have needed a majority of all the registered voters in the state, whether they choose to show up at the polls or not, rather than a majority of the people who vote. No candidate has to meet that standard, and it's a nearly impossible standard to meet. Counting people who don't vote as automatic NO votes would have been a de facto ban on the ballot initiative process.

With nearly all the votes counted, Prop 105 went down in flames by a vote of 66% to 34%. Thanks to the people of Arizona for once again protecting their right to direct democracy, and rejecting this power grab by special interests and corporate lobbyists.

Sacramento Bee Calls Resounding Victory for YES on Prop 2

Posted: 05 Nov 2008 12:11 AM CST

Voters approve Proposition 2 on farm animal treatment

Bee Capitol Bureau

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2008

California voters on Tuesday approved the Humane Society-sponsored measure, 68 percent to 32 percent with about 10 percent of precincts reporting, to outlaw caging practices that prevent farm animals from lying down, standing up, turning around or extending their limbs.

Because California is often a trendsetter on social issues, Proposition 2 drew nationwide attention. Some experts predicted a ripple effect in other states if it passed. Opponents argued the restrictions would increase illness risks and put farmers out of production.

How Has HSLF Fared in Congressional Races?

Posted: 04 Nov 2008 11:47 PM CST

There are many races still too close to call, but I want to give you a broad look at how the HSLF-backed candidates are doing tonight in the House and Senate contests. So far, 248 candidates endorsed by HSLF have won tonight, and ten have been defeated. We have lost some good friends in Congress, but we've gained some new allies as well.

Our win rate in congressional races at this point in the evening is 96%, with a major win in the presidential race, a statewide ballot measure victory in Massachusetts, and another on the horizon in California. It is shaping up to be a tremendous night for animals from coast to coast.

Lead Solidifying for Prop 2 in California

Posted: 04 Nov 2008 11:35 PM CST

With 21.5% of precincts reporting, the YES side is leading 62% to 38%. We are not ready to express any certainty about the outcome, but it is looking quite good for the farm animals at this point.

Knollenberg Going Down in Michigan's 9th

Posted: 04 Nov 2008 10:55 PM CST

With 81% of precincts reporting, Democratic challenger and animal protection leader Gary Peters has a commanding lead over Republican incumbent Joe Knollenberg, by 51% to 43%. Knollenberg has one of the worst records on animal cruelty in the entire Congress, and was the Humane Society Legislative Fund's top target for defeat in the 2008 election.

Animal advocates have been tirelessly canvassing door-to-door in Michigan's 9th Congressional District, and HSLF spent more than $400,000 on TV ads in the Detroit area, letting voters know about Knollenberg's long and embarrassing record on animal cruelty. On the eve of the election, Knollenberg even tried to proclaim himself an animal lover, but he couldn't hide from his average score of 12% over his 16 years in Congress. He had sided with animal abusers 88% of the time, on issues such as horse slaughter, downed animals, polar bear trophy hunting, and animal fighting.

Gary Peters was a champion for animals when he served in the Michigan Senate, and he often spoke out and fought for animal protection bills on the Senate floor. He was a leader in the effort to keep mourning doves protected in Michigan and defeat the attempts to authorize target shooting of these gentle and inoffensive songbirds.

Peters is exactly the kind of lawmaker we want to bring to Washington, and Knollenberg is exactly the kind we want to send home. Congratulations to Gary Peters on running a great campaign and emerging as the victor, and congratulations to all the Michigan animal advocates who talked to voters about Knollenberg's record and played a very meaningful role in this outcome.

Early Returns for Prop 2 in California

Posted: 04 Nov 2008 10:25 PM CST

With only 9% of precincts reporting in California, Proposition 2 is winning by a wide margin of 63% to 37%. Let's hope the solid YES vote holds, and we may see a historic victory for millions of farm animals tonight.

The 44th President of the United States

Posted: 04 Nov 2008 10:13 PM CST

If you haven't heard, Barack Obama has been elected president! It's a historic night, and a great outcome for animals. The Humane Society Legislative Fund had backed Barack Obama and Joe Biden, as both senators have been strong supporters of animal protection legislation. We had been especially concerned about Sarah Palin's terrible record on animal protection and conservation issues in Alaska, and her retrograde policies of shooting wolves from helicopters and denying protections to imperiled polar bears.

The extremist NRA spent millions of dollars campaigning for John McCain and Sarah Palin, and it was clear that Obama-Biden was the ticket for animals. We congratulate the Obama campaign on this historic win, and we look forward to working with the new administration for a more humane White House.

Connecticut and Florida House Races

Posted: 04 Nov 2008 09:34 PM CST

Results are coming in for the competitive races in the U.S. House of Representatives. Republican Chris Shays, one of our greatest champions for animal protection in Congress, has unfortunately lost his bid for reelection in Connecticut's 4th District. Shays is the co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Friends of Animals Caucus, and has been the lead author of numerous bills dealing with farm animal welfare, pets in disasters, canned hunts, and other issues. He helped to usher in a number of policy reforms and the animals of the United States are better off because of his hard work and leadership.

In the good news column, Democratic challenger and friend of animals Suzanne Kosmas has defeated Republican incumbent Tom Feeney in Florida's 24th District. Kosmas has been a strong supporter of animal protection in the Florida state legislature, and Feeney has received among the lowest possible marks annually on the Humane Scorecard. He was even one of only 24 lawmakers who opposed the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act in 2006, which requires the inclusion of pets and service animals in emergency plans.

We are watching other close races around the country, and will post the results as they come in.

More Senate Results in Maine, New Mexico, North Carolina

Posted: 04 Nov 2008 08:55 PM CST

Returns continue to come in for the U.S. Senate races. HSLF-backed Republican incumbent Susan Collins has won reelection in Maine. She is a great friend of animals, a cosponsor of a raft of humane bills, and a lead author of the resolution calling on Canada to stop its annual slaughter of hundreds of thousands of baby harp seals on the Atlantic coast. We are proud to have endorsed her, and congratulate her on the win.

In the open Senate seat in New Mexico, HSLF-backed Democrat Tom Udall has been declared the victor over enemy of animal welfare Steve Pearce. Udall has been a strong supporter of animal protection legislation in the House of Representatives, and a leader on conservation efforts. With Udall, Warner, and Shaheen coming into the Senate, we have picked up some great new allies of animal protection.

There is much news to celebrate for animals tonight, but sadly not all of the outcomes have gone our way. Republican incumbent Elizabeth Dole, another great advocate for animal welfare who was endorsed by HSLF, has lost her hard-fought battle for reelection. She brings her dog Leader to her Senate office, and she herself has been a leader in working to secure increased funding for adequate enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and other animal protection laws. We will be sad to see her leave the Senate, and we are grateful for all her work to protect animals from cruelty and abuse.

Greyhounds Win the Race!

Posted: 04 Nov 2008 08:27 PM CST

New England Cable News just called the race on Question 3, and the greyhounds win! It's currently 56% to 44% in favor of the YES vote, with 22% of precincts reporting. Congratulations to all the Massachusetts volunteers and dedicated campaigners who fought to the finish line for the greyhounds! This is a tremendous victory for animals, and will save man's best friend from cruel confinement, broken legs, and other abuse.

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