January 18, 2013
Wayne's Blog: The Obama Administration’s First Term – Animal Protection Record
With President Obama’s inauguration and second term around the corner, I thought it would be a good opportunity to take a look back at his animal protection record over the last four years. How well has this administration responded to animal protection concerns?
Viewed with a wide lens, and examining the big subjects within the jurisdiction of multiple agencies (e.g., the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior), the administration has performed in a mediocre way – not failing, but far from stellar. There have been some positive steps, but also some harmful actions. The biggest problem has been the administration’s inordinate delays and inattention to these issues. In fact, I don’t believe the president has said one word about animal protection, except for his early announcement about a federal rule prohibiting most downer cattle in the food supply. Animal protection has been off his radar screen. It’s safe to say that there’s been no vision staked out by the president on these issues, and a very limited vision from his cabinet secretaries whose daily work puts them in closer touch with these questions.
Animal protection issues are spread across a number of departments, but some agencies have accomplished more than others. Here is a brief breakdown of the key agencies with jurisdiction over animal issues and their accomplishments over the past four years.