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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Kucinich Staves Off Primary Challenge

Senator Hillary Clinton won Ohio and Texas last night, guaranteeing that the Democratic contest between her and Senator Barack Obama will remain unsettled for some time, at least until the Pennsylvania primary on April 22.  But two other outcomes from last night have settled issues of great importance to animal advocates.

Dennis_kucinich1 U.S. Rep.  Dennis Kucinich handily won the hard-fought Democratic primary in Ohio’s 10th Congressional District, earning more than 50 percent of the vote with the remainder split among four other challengers.  The Humane Society Legislative Fund had endorsed Kucinich, sent mail to voters in the district urging his reelection, and had boots on the ground advocating for him in Cleveland.

An ethical vegetarian, Rep. Kucinich has been one of the true leaders on animal protection issues in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is currently a co-sponsor of 16 animal protection measures in the 110th Congress, one of the highest numbers among all 435 members.  He 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.  When animal issues are considered on the House floor, Rep. Kucinich can often be found speaking in favor of the animal protection position.  He is heavily favored to win the general election in the Democratic-leaning district, meaning a likely to return to Washington for a seventh term.

And while the Democratic presidential nomination is still undecided, the Republican picture has greater clarity. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee— whose views on animal protection were a throwback to a less enlightened era—withdrew from the race last night, after Senator John McCain clinched the Republican field. Huckabee was accused of thwarting an investigation into his teenage son’s alleged torture of a dog at a Boy Scout camp, he has pandered to the sport hunting lobby, and he has even talked about eating horse meat and frying squirrels in a popcorn popper. We still don’t know who will occupy the White House next January, but we can now be pretty sure that horses and squirrels won’t be on the menu in the presidential dining room.

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