Before I do into this article, I want to state that I am not a big political person and the only issues that I will be addressing here are the candidates’ stands on various animal issues. My feeling when it comes to politics is that I would not support someone who was not strong on animal welfare issues that were important to me but also I would not support someone solely based on their stand on animal welfare issues.

I’m only going to be covering the ‘major’ players in the race and do my best not to allow my own feelings, except for animal welfare issues, come through.

2008 Presidential Candidates

Hillary Rodham Clinton
John Edwards
Mike Gravel
Dennis J. Kucinich
Barack Obama
Bill Richardson
Rudolph W. Giuliani
Mike Huckabee
Duncan L. Hunter
John McCain
Ron Paul
Mitt Romney
Fred Thompson

Democrats’ Stands on Animal Welfare Issues

Hillary Rodham Clinton Hillary Rodham ClintonConsidered strong on animal welface issues.She has co-sponsered legislation regarding horse slaughter and animal fighting as well as legislation to stop the processing of ‘downer’ livestock and wants to crack down on puppy mills.
John EdwardsJohn Edwards – Weak on hunting issues – “Hunting and Fishing Bill of Rights and Responsibilities” that calls for giving hunters more access to federal lands, including, in some cases, national parks. He has supported and co-cponsered bills on the following issues though and was one of the first candidates to come forward and release a statement on animal welfare issues; stop cockfighting, bear poaching, and the processing of “downer” livestock, restricting abusive puppy mills, ensuring the safety of pet food, stopping the trade in pet primates,protect dolphins from tuna nets and prevent drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Mike Gravel
Mike Gravel
– No readily available information on animal welfare issues.
Dennis Kucinich Dennis KucinichHe is considered very strong on animal welfare issues. Currently a co-sponsor of 14 animal protection measures, led the effort in 2001 and 2002 to secure more funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act at puppy mills, research laboratories, zoos, circuses, and other facilities. Had hosted an online forum to discuss animal issues and is an ethical vegetarian.
Barek Obama
Barek Obama
He is considered strong on animal welfare issues. Has co-sponsored of measures to stop horse slaughter, upgrade the penalties for animal fighting, and crack down on dogfighting. You can read more about his stands on animal welface in his Human Society Legislative Fund’s questionairre.
Bill RichardsonBill RichardsonConsidered strong on animal welfare issues. As Governor of New Mexico he has provided more than ten million dollars for wildlife conservation, animal shelters, animal control, spay/neuter projects, cruelty investigations, and other animal welfare programs. Finally outlawed cockfighting and enacted a law to have a bittering agent added to antifreeze for the safety of children and animals. Weak on rodeos and hunting.


Republicans’ Stands on Animal Welfare Issues

Rudy GiulianiRudy Giuliani – Not much legislation except for a 2000 bill to promote the spaying and neutering of dogs and cats and open an animal shelter in each borough in order to help curb New York’s pet overpopulation. The first Republican candidate to release a public statement on animal issues – “Animals play an important part in the lives of many Americans. We should all work to reduce animal suffering by advocating for sensible public policies, investigating animal cruelty and strongly enforcing the laws that are already on the books. I will continue to support efforts to educate the public about animal issues, and work with corporations to develop animal-friendly policies.”
Mike Huckabee Mike HuckabeeConsidered weak and poor on animal welfare issues. I think by now everyone had heard about his son and the cruel dog killing incident. Huckabee and his staff was further involved by attempting to have the matter not investigated and covered up. He is an avid hunter and has stood against pretty much any legislation to strengthen animal welfare and strongly sides with Arkansas Farm Bureau, Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, and Ducks Unlimited refusing to upgrade the penalties for animal cruelty saying they would have adversely impacted hunting, fishing, farming, and other Arkansas traditions. Oh, and one of his favorite foods is purported to be made with horsemeat!
Duncan HunterDuncan HunterConsidered basically poor on animal welfare issues but does support legislation against animal fighting, horse slaughter, and the processing of “downer” livestock. He’s weak on hunting issues to the point that he supports trophy hunting on Santa Rosa Island. He is also involved in a controversial battle over whether the animals will be exterminated from the island or allowed to remain in a canned hunt – a negative for animals with either outcome.
John McCain
John McCain
Considered strong on various animal welfare issues. Voted for and/or co-sponsored legislation to stop horse slaughter, eliminate a $2 million subsidy for the mink industry, stop the interstate shipment of birds for cockfighting and to stop the poaching of bears. Weak on hunting issues
Ron PaulRon PaulExtremely weak and poor on animal welfare issues! to keep the federal penalties weak for dogfighting and cockfighting, providing some great pocket protection for would-be Michael Vicks. He against restoring the decades-old protections for wild horses and burros, instead opting to allow these majestic creatures to be sold for commercial slaughter. And One of only 31 members of the U.S. House of Representatives who voted against every single animal protection measure that came up for a vote in 2007. He voted in Marchvoted in Aprilhe voted in June to allow wealthy American trophy hunters to shoot polar bears in the Arctic and bring their heads and hides back home.
Mitt Romney Mitt RomneyRelative poor on animal welfare issues. We all probably remeber the story about him tying his dog on the top on his car in a crate on a family vacation, not cool! That action seems to showcase his measure when it comes to animal welfare, don’t really care. He supports rodeos and appoints animal-unfriendly people to Wildlife boards. The only positive note was a bill to strengthen the Massachusetts animal fighting law and prevent a convicted animal abuser from getting the animal back.
Fred ThompsonFred ThompsonBasically poor on animal welfare issues. Voted to continue spending tax dollars to allow the use of two particularly inhumane traps—steel-jawed leghold traps and wire neck snares—for commercial and recreational trapping on National Wildlife Refuges, opposed an amendment to protect dolphins from drowning in tuna fishing nets. The only positive was that he voted to eliminate $2 million subsidy for the mink industry

This is a brief encapsulated overview of the candidates and their stands on various animal welfare issues.

You can find more and detail information on the above candidates and many other politicos in the HSUS Humane Scorecard which you can download HERE.

You can also find additional information at the Humane Society Legislative Fund and the Animals and Politics Blog, just two of the numerous sources I used to gather information for this article.

Please feel free to leave your comments. If you have any additional information that I missed or you feel is important, I’d love to hear, just leave a comment and no bashing – well, not too badly anyway, please 🙂

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