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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Hot Off the Press: The 2010 Humane Scorecard

Before Election Day, I posted a preliminary version of the 2010 Humane Scorecard, and after the end-of-year congressional “lame-duck” session, I provided a look at our year in review for animals. We made progress for animal protection on a number of fronts, and ended the 111th Congress with major policies enacted on crush videos, fur labeling, and shark finning.

Blog graphic I’m pleased to announce today that the Humane Society Legislative Fund has posted the final version of the 2010 Humane Scorecard, where you can track the performance of your federal lawmakers on key animal protection issues during the two-year session of the 111th Congress. We rated legislators based on their voting behavior on measures such as crush videos, primates as pets, service dogs for veterans, wild horses, and guns in parks; their cosponsorship of priority bills on puppy mills, 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 2011 and are pushing animal protection policy issues forward in the new congressional session.

Here are a few of the most important statistics from the 111th Congress:

  • A bipartisan group of 36 Senators and 110 Representatives covering 38 states and two U.S. territories 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 35, with Senate Democrats averaging 53, and Senate Republicans averaging 11.
  • The average House score was a 58, with House Democrats averaging 76, and House Republicans averaging 32.
  • Eight Senators scored 100 or 100+.
  • Twenty-six Senators scored zero.
  • Fifty-five Representatives scored 100 or 100+.
  • Two Representatives scored zero.
  • The New England region led the pack with an average Senate score of 73 and an average House score of 87.
  • The Rocky Mountains were at the bottom with an average Senate score of 15 and an average House score of 35.
  • California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are the only states with an average Senate score of 100 or 100+.
  • Kentucky, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming were the only states in which both Senators scored zero.
  • Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont are the only states with an average House score of 80 or above.
  • Alaska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming are the only states with an average House score below 30.

I’d like to give special thanks to the following two Senators and eighteen 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. Joseph Lieberman (Conn.)
  • Sen. John Kerry (Mass.)
  • Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.)
  • Rep. Howard Berman (Calif.)
  • Rep. Lois Capps (Calif.)
  • Rep. Susan Davis (Calif.)
  • Rep. Bob Filner (Calif.)
  • Rep. George Miller (Calif.)
  • Rep. Brad Sherman (Calif.)
  • Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.)
  • Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.)
  • Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.)
  • Rep. Gary Peters (Md.)
  • Rep. Robert Andrews (N.J.)
  • Rep. Rush Holt (N.J.)
  • Rep. Nita Lowey (N.Y.)
  • Rep. Ed Towns (N.Y.)
  • Rep. David Price (N.C.)
  • Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio)
  • Rep. Norm Dicks (Wash.)

I hope you will use the Humane Scorecard as a guide, and communicate with your lawmakers about their grades for 2010. 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 2011. If you have new legislators representing you in the 112th Congress, contact them, too, perhaps indicating that you’ve seen the Humane Scorecard for 2010 and that you want them to be supportive of animal protection and earn a good score in the Humane Scorecard for 2011. (Click here to contact your representative. Click here to contact your senators.)

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.

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