Sunday, July 28, 2013

Who Cares About Dogs And Cats?


We wouldn't have endorsed state Senator Daylin Leach for the open congressional seat in Northeast Philadelphia and Montgomery County (PA-13) if he wasn't pro-choice and pro-environment and pro-equality. The fact that he's been a leader in the state legislature on these matters made it all the easier. But, in the end, we decided to back Daylin because he has been such a strong and effective fighter on behalf of economic justice. He's a Blue America candidate because he stands up for ordinary working families and because he doesn't sell out to the special interests that have bought out so many Pennsylvania legislators. But I have to admit, one thing we never asked Daylin about was where he stood on animal welfare.

I was impressed this week when I saw an endorsement of Daylin from the Humane Society. "As minority chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee," the pointed out, "Leach has consistently led efforts to strengthen state laws on animal cruelty and abuse. Citing his strong support of animal protection policies, the Humane Society Legislative Fund urges primary voters to support Daylin Leach." 'Daylin Leach is one of Pennsylvania’s strongest champions of animal protection, and an effective leader in cracking down on cruelty and abuse,' said Michael Markarian, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. 'He has consistently stood up for the values of kindness and compassion and we urge voters who care about the humane treatment of animals to support Daylin Leach.'” While serving as Pennsylvania State Senator, Daylin Leach:
Served as the chair of the Senate Animal Protection Caucus, which he helped to create in order to organize legislators on animal protection issues
Sponsored legislation to prohibit the sale, possession and distribution of shark fins to crack down on the brutal practice of shark finning (SB 1578)
Sponsored legislation to phase out the routine non-therapeutic use of antibiotics on industrial factory farms (SB 398)
Led efforts to ban live pigeon shoots in Pennsylvania (SB 510)
Cosponsored legislation to address the inhumane continuous tethering of dogs and establish penalties for related offenses (SB 522)
Cosponsored legislation to strengthen regulations on large-scale puppy mills and protect dogs and consumers (P.L. 1450, No. 119)
Voted to shift the financial burden of animal cruelty cases from municipalities and nonprofit shelters to those responsible for the animals’ suffering (HB 82)
Voted to ban the use of carbon monoxide chambers at animal shelters, and allow shelter personnel to procure the drugs necessary to euthanize animals in a humane manner (P.L. 1452, No. 182)
Voted to strengthen poaching laws by creating a comprehensive penalty system and clarifying rights and duties of wildlife conservation officers (P.L. 387, No. 54)
Voted to prohibit the simulcasting of greyhound racing (P.L. 210, No. 32)
Voted to establish liability for the owner of a dog who injures or kills a service dog (HB 165)
Voted for a bill to require that debarking, tail docking, and other surgical procedures be performed under anesthesia by a licensed veterinarian (HB 39)
Is that a reason to support a candidate? Sure; it's a reason and it helps complete a whole picture of what kind of a congressman someone is likely to be. Scanning through Humane Society past scorecards, I noticed that caring about animal welfare made for some strange bedfellows. Last year, David Vitter (R-LA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) all scored 100 in the Senate. And the lowest scores also transcended partisan lines: Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Mark Pryor (D-AR).

In the House animal welfare champions were mostly progressive members you would probably guess, like Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Barbara Lee (R-CA), George Miller (R-CA), and Keith Ellison (D-MN) and the Members with the most abysmal records were also obvious: animal haters like Steve King (R-IA), Taliban Dan Webster (R-FL), Phil Gingrey (R-GA), Lord Charles Boustany (R-LA), Tom Reed (R-NY), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Michael Pompeo (R-Koch), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Dave Camp (R-MI), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Reid Ribble (R-WI), Mike Kelly (R-PA)... None of these House Members with zero scores are decent legislators for any number of reasons and their positions on animal welfare just fits right into the overall pictures. And for Daylin, the picture just could not be clearer. You'll catch it in this video:


Since I'm unable at present to get the site to cough up the remaining batch of audio clips, I'm having to put off today's Sunday Classics post, "Fleshing out our sound picture of Leon Fleisher" to later today. Stay tuned.

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