Why the King Amendment is Hypocritical

Seth Victor

Recently Angelique Rivard explained some of the dangers inherent in Rep. Steve King’s amendment to H.R. 6083, the Farm Bill. What makes this amendment maddening is that Mr. King has cited law to support this measure that he would decry as the product of an overreaching government in almost any other circumstance. There is no doubt that Mr. King’s proposal is intended to end state protection for farmed animals; his website proudly declares that he hopes to terminate the efforts of animal rights groups, ensuring “that radical organizations like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and PETA are prohibited from establishing a patchwork of restrictive state laws aimed at slowly suffocating production agriculture out of existence.”

King has hardly been the darling of animal rights before this foray, as Stephen Colbert nicely summarizes. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Humane Society Legislative Fund and the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund both gave him a 0% rating in 2012. This came after a 2010 statement at a National 4-H Conference that “the HSUS is run by vegetarians with an agenda whose goal is to take meat off everyone’s table in America.” King has also previously voted against broadening the definitions of the Endangered Species Act in 2005 which would have enabled better listing criteria.

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Which Animals Matter (yet again)?

Seth Victor

To paraphrase the oft quoted excerpt from Animal Farm, all cute and fuzzy animals are equal, but domesticated cute and fuzzy animals are more equal than others. This sentiment was yet again demonstrated over the last week. In one corner, we have human pets, who are mercilessly being tortured for the pleasure of a rather repugnant fetish in crush videos. After U.S. v. Stevens struck down a law aimed a regulating depictions of cruelty, Congress quickly passed a narrower bill that was signed into law by President Obama on Friday. As reported by ALDF, “the more narrowly written law that emerged makes it a crime to sell or distribute videos showing animals being intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury. It exempts depictions of veterinary and husbandry practices, the slaughter of animals for food, as well as depictions of hunting, trapping or fishing.” Hopefully the narrower scope will survive the inevitable legal challenges.

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Pombo Relegated to the Ashheap of History

David Cassuto

Richard Pombo lost the  Republican primary for Congress in California´s Central Valley.  This is good news for animals everywhere.  During his 14 years in Congress (representing another district, which he lost in 2006), Pombo was an unmitigated disaster (not just for animals but for all things environmental).  During his chairmanship of the House Natural Resources Committee, Pombo blocked all kinds of wildlife protection, supported subsidies for the fur industry and advocated for the resumption of the ivory trade (more on the Pombo Hall of Shame here).   His campaign platform centered on the fact that if he were elected and the Republicans regained control of the House, his seniority would make him Chairman once more.    Continue reading

The Congressional Canine Awards

From the Truth is Stranger than Fiction Desk: Last night were the Congressional Canine Awards. . .

At the awards ceremony,  House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer eulogized his late dog, Charlotte, declaring: “God invented dogs for us, to give us the kind of uncompromising love that human beings need, and we in turn give them the same kind of love.”  Michael Markarian, President of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, finds this heartwarming and posted the video of Hoyer’s remarks on his blog.

Even while acknowledging Mr. Hoyer’s laudable devotion to Charlotte, I find all of this disturbing.  I can’t decide what bothers me more: that Congressman Hoyer believes dogs were created for human use and benefit or that Michael Markarian finds such sentiments touching.

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