Who are the animal friends and animal enemies in Congress? Well, I’ve smoked them out; gotten them out of their big-ass, extremely comfortable offices in D.C. into the daylight of the Internet.
And here’s a surprise: The Democratic Party is friendlier to farm animals than the Republican Party, according to a Humane Society-United States 2013 survey. OK, not much of a surprise.
HSUS gave each elected official in Congress a score ranging from 100 (the best as far as animals go) to 0 (the pits as far as animals go.) Some 19 Democratic senators and one Republican senator (Susan Collins of Maine) received scores of 100. And 36 Republicans and three Democrats in the Senate received scores of 0.
If you check out the HSUS scorecard, you’ll see lots senators trying to have it both ways — animal frenemies. (You can download it from here.)
I know, I know, over all, Congress has been quite busy fucking over animals and animal activists in the last couple of years, but there have been some important successes. The Draconian “King Amendment” in the House was defeated in January of this year, for example. That thing would have nullified the few farm animal protections laws that have managed to pass in some states, including California’s Proposition 2.
Now, there are elections coming up. Mid-terms in November. I wanted to find out which Animal Hundred Pointers and which Vomitus Zeros were up for reelection. (I’m pretty proud to say that in my state of California, both our senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein got 100 points each, but neither of them is up for reelection this year.)
The Hundred Pointers facing challengers for their Senate seats are:
Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois.
Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana.
Ed Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts.
Susan Collins, Republican of Maine.
Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon.
Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii.
The Vomitus Zeros facing challenges are:
Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama.
Jim Risch, Republican of Idaho.
Kay Hagan, Democrat of North Carolina.
Jim Inofe, Republican of Oklahoma.
Mike Enzi, Republican of Wyoming.
Most of these people have their elections already fairly locked up. But there are some vulnerable ones.
Among the weaker Hundred Pointers are Mary Landrieu and possibly Brian Schatz – Landrieu, because she’s fairly progressive in the bright red state of Louisiana; Schatz because, although he can take some comfort in the fact that he’s a Democrat in a blue state, he’s not that popular.
The only vulnerable Vomitus Zero is North Carolina senator Kay Hagan, a Democrat. If she’s defeated by a Republican, chances are, little will change with regards to animals. But a lot might change with regards to other issues.
I KNOW some people are so disgusted with politics and disappointed that Obama hasn’t been able to put a dent in the corporate hegemony, they don’t want to vote at all. The whole “hope thing” makes my stomach hurt too. You feel like a fool for voting or trying to vote. (Hegemony, in case you don’t know, means “power.” I usually like to spell it “hegemoney.”)
But anyway, if I can make the tiniest molecule of a difference I’m willing to play the fool and vote whenever I can. It’s part of being a vegan.
A footnote on Barbara Boxer: Yes, she opposed the King Amendment and HSUS gave her 100 points for 2013. In 2007 she co-sponsored bills that outlawed horse slaughter, that strengthened existing laws against animal fighting and that called for better treatment of downer cows, but these days we noticed that she’s also billing herself as a “strong voice for California’s dairy industry” and helped convince the USDA to include a $60 million cheese purchase for its feeding program. Might send her a note reminding her of dairy cow rights and dairy industry nitrates in California water.
— A Vicious Vegan blog post —