Hot Off the Press: The 2013 Humane Scorecard
Last fall, I posted a preliminary version of the 2013 Humane Scorecard, and a few weeks ago, just as Congress was returning for the second session of the 113th Congress, I provided a look at our year in review for animals. We made some real progress on key animal protection issues, and there’s tremendous potential on several fronts in 2014.
I’m pleased to announce today that the Humane Society Legislative Fund has posted the final version of the 2013 Humane Scorecard, where you can track the performance of your federal lawmakers on key animal protection issues during the first session of the 113th Congress. We rated legislators based on their cosponsorship of priority bills on “soring” of show horses, the treatment of egg-laying hens, animal fighting spectators, and horse slaughter; their votes on agribusiness subsidies and the Farm Bill; their support for funding the enforcement of animal welfare laws; their opposition to the King Amendment that aims to gut state agriculture and animal welfare laws; and their leadership on animal protection measures. All of the priority bills whose cosponsorships we counted garnered strong bipartisan support; in the House, each bill had between 143 and 259 cosponsors, and in the Senate between 17 and 44.
The Humane Scorecard is not a perfect measuring tool, but creating some reasonable yardstick and allowing citizens to hold lawmakers accountable is central to our work. The HSUS historically and in recent years HSLF have been publishing the Humane Scorecard since the 103rd Congress (which covered 1993-1994), so this annual congressional snapshot has been available for more than two decades. (If you are a member of HSLF, and I hope you are, you will also receive a printed copy in the mail as one of your membership benefits.)
When the Humane Scorecard comes out each year, it helps demonstrate the level of support animal protection ideas hold in different regions of the country and with the two major political parties. It provides a look back and a look ahead by evaluating where we have been effective, and where we need to focus our energies in the coming months. In looking at the record so far for the 113th Congress, you’ll see that animals won some important victories, demonstrating once again that these issues can pull legislators together across party lines. We’ve got much exciting work ahead for the balance of the second session, and look forward to your help pressing the case in the halls of Congress.
Here are a few of the most important statistics from 2013:
- A bipartisan group of 35 Senators and 127 Representatives covering 40 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia led as prime sponsors of pro-animal legislation and/or scored a perfect 100—more than one-third of the Senate and one-quarter of the House.
- The average Senate score was a 41, with Senate Democrats averaging 64, Senate Republicans averaging 13, and Senate Independents averaging 80.
- The average House score was a 48, with House Democrats averaging 82, and House Republicans averaging 18.
- Nineteen Senators scored 100 or 100+.
- Thirty-five Senators scored zero.
- More than one-quarter of the House (119 Representatives) scored 100 or 100+.
- Eighty Representatives scored zero.
- The New England region led the pack with an average House score of 99 and an average Senate score of 87, followed closely by the West with a House score of 70 and a Senate score of 57, and the Mid-Atlantic region with a House score of 72 and a Senate score of 55.
- The Rocky Mountains and the Southeast were at the bottom with average House scores of 29 and 33, respectively, and each had an average Senate score of 18.
- California, New Jersey, Vermont, and Washington were the only states that had average Senate scores of 100.
- In Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming, both Senators scored zero.
- Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island each had a House average of 100, and Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Vermont each had a House average of 85 or higher.
- Alaska, North Dakota, and Wyoming (each with one at-large member) were the only states with a House score of zero, while Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Utah each had an average House score in single digits.
I’d like to give special thanks to the following six Senators and 25 Representatives who took the pro-animal position on every scored item and earned extra credit for both signing a letter opposing the King amendment and leading on an animal issue or issues:
- Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)
- Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
- Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.)
- Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.)
- Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)
- Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.)
- Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.)
- Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.)
- Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.)
- Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.)
- Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.)
- Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.)
- Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.)
- Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.)
- Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.)
- Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.)
- Rep. William Keating (D-Mass.)
- Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.)
- Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.)
- Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.)
- Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.)
- Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.)
- Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.)
- Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.)
- Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.)
- Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.)
- Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)
- Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.)
- Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.)
- Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.)
I hope you will use the Humane Scorecard as a guide, and communicate with your lawmakers about their grades for 2013. 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 expect they’ll attempt to do better in 2014. Let all your federal legislators 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 and to foster decency and mercy in our dealings with all types of animals.