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Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Susan Collins and Reps. Jeff Denham and Kurt Schrader Earn Top Humane Federal Legislator Awards

141 other Members of Congress Recognized

Humane Society Legislative Fund

The Humane Society of the United States and its affiliate Humane Society Legislative Fund presented their 2014 Humane Legislator of the Year awards to Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Reps. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., and Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., along with other recipients of the congressional Humane Awards for 2014.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, said: “This year’s honorees stand out as tireless champions for animals on many fronts—from cracking down on animal fighting to providing sanctuary for laboratory chimpanzees to protecting farm animals, horses and pets. Many were also integral fending off the destructive ‘King Amendment’ that aimed to gut state animal welfare laws. We are thankful for their leadership in making the mainstream ideals of animal protection a priority in Washington.”   

Michael Markarian, president of HSLF, said: “Animal protection issues continue to bridge partisan divides and give Members of Congress the opportunity to work together to uphold core humane values shared by the overwhelming majority of Americans. We are deeply grateful to all these leaders for bringing their compassion to the halls of Congress and giving animals a strong voice.”  

Sen. Stabenow is being honored for:

  • Her leadership as Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee incorporating into the 2014 Farm Bill the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, which closed a gap in federal animal fighting law by making it a crime to knowingly attend an organized animal fight or bring a child to such an event. This will help law enforcement crack down on the entire cast of characters involved, including those who finance the activity with admission fees and gambling wagers, provide cover to animal fighters during raids, and expose children to the violence and bloodletting.
  • Helping to defeat the provision that Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, inserted into the House Farm Bill, which would have nullified critical state and local animal welfare laws.
  • Being an original cosponsor of the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments to provide uniform national standards for the housing and treatment of egg laying hens.
  • Supporting other animal protection legislation such as the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, to crack down on the abuse of show horses, and the Captive Primate Safety Act, to prohibit the interstate trade in primates for the exotic pet trade, and seeking funds needed for USDA enforcement of key animal welfare laws.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, said: “We commend Senator Stabenow for her work strengthening the federal law against animal fighting and fending off the destructive ‘King Amendment’ that aimed to gut state animal welfare laws.”

Sen. Collins is recognized for:

  • Leading efforts to end invasive research on chimpanzees by the National Institutes of Health and expedite their transfer to sanctuary, and to end the differential treatment of chimpanzees under the Endangered Species Act depending on whether they are in the wild or in captivity. She also requested appropriations language to ensure continued support for the national chimpanzee sanctuary system.
  • Co-leading the Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act, which would phase out the routine non-therapeutic use of antibiotics on farm animals – a common practice to promote growth and compensate for overcrowded, stressful, unsanitary conditions on factory farms – and on the Antimicrobial Data Collection Act, which would require the Food and Drug Administration to improve the collection and public reporting of information on how antibiotics are used in food animal production.
  • Being an original cosponsor of the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments, and cosponsoring the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, to crack down on the abuse of show horses, the Captive Primate Safety Act, to prohibit the interstate trade in primates for the exotic pet trade, and the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act to protect horses and consumers by prohibiting the transport and export of U.S. horses to slaughter for human consumption.
  • As a member of the Appropriations Committee, consistently supporting provisions to effectively block horse slaughter on U.S. soil, and requesting funds needed for USDA enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, Horse Protection Act, Humane Methods of Slaughter Act and federal animal fighting law, and implementation of programs to address the needs of animals in disasters and to ease a shortage of veterinarians in rural areas and USDA positions through student loan repayment.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, said: “Senator Collins has stepped up time and again, leading on a wide range of issues from providing sanctuary for laboratory chimpanzees to curbing the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms.”

Rep. Denham is recognized for:

  • Being a lead sponsor of the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments, which enshrined an agreement between animal welfare groups and the egg industry to improve the treatment of hundreds of millions of laying hens and provide stability for egg farmers and consumers.
  • Leading the effort in the House Agriculture Committee to defeat the dangerous and overreaching “King amendment,” which threatened to nullify critical state and local animal welfare laws.
  • Being the lead sponsor of the Pets on Trains Act, to require Amtrak to propose a pet policy allowing passengers to travel with cats and dogs on certain passenger trains. He also worked with Amtrak and local officials to implement a successful pilot project along some routes from Chicago.
  • Cosponsoring the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, to crack down on the abuse of show horses, and the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, to make it a crime to attend or bring a child to a dogfight or cockfight.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, said: “We thank Congressman Denham for his outstanding leadership pressing to phase out inhumane battery cages for laying hens and opposing the King Amendment, as well as his leadership on the bill to allow pets on trains.”

Rep. Schrader is honored for:

  • Being a lead sponsor of the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments, which enshrined an agreement between animal welfare groups and the egg industry to improve the treatment of hundreds of millions of laying hens and provide stability for egg farmers and consumers.
  • Leading the effort in the House Agriculture Committee to defeat the dangerous and overreaching “King amendment,” which threatened to nullify critical state and local animal welfare laws.
  • Being the lead sponsor of the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, which was passed and signed into law, amending the Controlled Substances Act to allow veterinarians to transport, administer and dispense controlled substances outside of their registered locations. This is especially important for providing help to pets in disasters, cruelty cases, animal sanctuaries, wildlife rehabilitation centers, and mobile spay and neuter clinics in areas lacking permanent veterinary services.
  • Introducing the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act, to facilitate loan repayment to select veterinary medicine professionals for a three-year commitment to practice in underserved areas of the country.
  • Cosponsoring the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, to crack down on the abuse of show horses, and the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, to make it a crime to attend or bring a child to a dogfight or cockfight, and requesting funds needed for USDA enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, Horse Protection Act, Humane Methods of Slaughter Act and federal animal fighting law, and implementation of programs to address the needs of animals in disasters and to ease a shortage of veterinarians in rural areas and USDA positions through student loan repayment.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, said: “We thank Congressman Schrader for his compassionate work pressing to phase out inhumane battery cages for laying hens and opposing the King Amendment, as well as his leadership to ensure that veterinarians can provide proper care to animal patients in rural or remote areas.”

Every year, HSLF compiles a federal Humane Scorecard to provide a snapshot of animal protection issues considered by the U.S. Congress and give animal advocates a tool to assess the performance of their Senators and Representatives. The scorecard tracks key votes and cosponsorship of important pro-animal bills and support for adequate funding needed to enforce key animal welfare laws. For 2014, in addition to the top awards for Sens. Stabenow and Collins and Reps. Denham and Schrader:

  • Humane Champion awards went to 9 legislators who took the lead on pro-animal legislation or a letter to an agency and also received a perfect score on the 2014 Humane Scorecard.
  • Legislative Leader awards went to 122 legislators for their leadership as prime sponsors of pro-animal legislation or advocacy on a regulatory agency issue.
  • Humane Advocate awards went to 10 legislators who received a perfect score on the 2014 Humane Scorecard.

Altogether, 145 legislators – representing 40 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia – received awards for their work in 2014.

To see the complete list of 2014 awardees, please click here.

Previous recipients of the Humane Legislator of the Year Award include Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., for 2013, Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Scott Brown, R-Mass., for 2012, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., for 2011, Reps. Elton Gallegly, R-Calif., and James Moran, D-Va., for 2010, Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., for 2009, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., for 2008, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., for 2007, Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn., for 2006, and Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., for 2005.

 

Media Contact:  Stephanie Twining, 301-258-1941, stwining@humanesociety.org

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