Hot Off the Press: The 2009 Humane Scorecard
Before the holidays, I posted a preliminary version of the 2009 Humane Scorecard, and provided a look at the year in review for animals in Congress. We made progress for animal protection on a number of fronts, but also suffered some setbacks and left some important work unfinished.
I’m pleased to announce today that the Humane Society Legislative Fund has posted the final version of the 2009 Humane Scorecard, where you can track the performance of your federal lawmakers on key animal protection issues during the first session of the 111th Congress. We rated legislators based on their voting behavior on measures ranging from primates as pets to wild horses to guns in parks; their cosponsorship of priority bills on horse slaughter, fur labeling, chimps in research, and overuse of antibiotics in factory farms; their support for funding the enforcement of animal welfare laws; and their leadership on animal protection. The Humane Scorecard is not a perfect measuring tool, but it is an invaluable one in gaining insight into how your lawmakers perform on the major issues of the day.
When the report card comes out each year, it helps clarify how the animal protection movement is doing geographically, by party affiliation, and in other categories. It helps us chart our course for animals by seeing where we have been effective, and where we need to improve. And much more needs to be done, as we have just begun 2010 and the second half of a two-year legislative session.
Here are a few of the most important statistics from 2009:
- A bipartisan group of 33 Senators and 98 Representatives covering 37 states and two U.S. territories led as prime sponsors of pro-animal legislation and/or scored a perfect 100—nearly one-third of the Senate and one-quarter of the House.
- The average Senate score was a 39, with Senate Democrats averaging 56, and Senate Republicans averaging 11.
- The average House score was a 51, with House Democrats averaging 71, and House Republicans averaging 22.
- Thirteen Senators scored 100 or 100+.
- Twenty-nine Senators scored zero.
- Fifty Representatives scored 100 or 100+.
- Fifty-four Representatives scored zero.
- The New England region led the pack with an average Senate score of 77 and an average House score of 86.
- The Rocky Mountains were at the bottom with an average Senate score of 14 and an average House score of 28.
- California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are the only states with an average Senate score of 100 or 100+.
- Alabama, Kentucky, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming were the only states in which both Senators scored zero.
- Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont are the only states with an average House score of more than 80.
- Alaska, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Utah are the only states with an average House score below 20.
I’d like to give special thanks to the following six Senators and thirteen Representatives who scored the highest possible 100+, meaning they had a perfect score on animal protection and also provided key leadership on a particular issue or issues:
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.)
- Sen. Joseph Lieberman (Conn.)
- Sen. Daniel Akaka (Hawaii)
- Sen. John Kerry (Mass.)
- Sen. Frank Lautenberg (N.J.)
- Sen. Robert Menendez (N.J.)
- Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.)
- Rep. Howard Berman (Calif.)
- Rep. Susan Davis (Calif.)
- Rep. George Miller (Calif.)
- Rep. Brad Sherman (Calif.)
- Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.)
- Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.)
- Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.)
- Rep. John Conyers (Mich.)
- Rep. Robert Andrews (N.J.)
- Rep. Rush Holt (N.J.)
- Rep. Nita Lowey (N.Y.)
- Rep. Ed Towns (N.Y.)
I hope you will use the Humane Scorecard as a guide, and communicate with your lawmakers about their grades for 2009. If they scored high marks, please thank them for their support of animal protection. If they did poorly, please tell them you’re watching and you hope they’ll do better in 2010. Let them know that you and other constituents care about the humane treatment of animals, and want to see common-sense policies enacted to protect these creatures from cruelty and abuse.