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The HSUS Honors Md. Lawmakers for Animal Welfare Work in 2008

The Humane Society of the United States

WASHINGTON — On behalf of its 250,000 supporters in Maryland, The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund have presented awards to U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D, and U.S. Reps. Chris Van Hollen, D-8, Roscoe Bartlett, R-6, Elijah Cummings, D-7, and C.A. Ruppersberger, D-2 for their advocacy on animal protection legislation in 2008.

Rep. Van Hollen received the Humane Champion Award for his leadership on legislation that establishes a federal database of animal cruelty crimes and for earning a perfect score on the Humane Scorecard. Sen. Mikulski received the Legislative Leader Award for her leadership on labeling requirements for food containing cloned-animal products. Rep. Bartlett received the Legislative Leader Award for his leadership on great ape protection and animal fighting. Reps. Cummings and Ruppersberger received Humane Advocate Awards for scoring 100 percent on the Humane Scorecard.

The HSUS and HSLF recognized 148 federal lawmakers — more than one-third of the Senate and one-quarter of the House of Representatives, representing 42 states and two U.S. territories — for receiving a perfect score of 100 percent on the annual Humane Scorecard, for leading efforts in Congress to protect animals or for doing both.

For the second session of the 110th Congress, legislators were scored on a series of efforts to support animal protection laws. For U.S. Senators, the score is based on seven criteria, including their vote on the Farm Bill and cosponsorship of bills addressing horse slaughter, downed animals, dogs and cats in research, animal fighting and funding for animal welfare programs.

For members of the House of Representatives, the scores are based on seven votes on bills addressing polar bear trophy hunting, protection for wild horses and restrictions on keeping primates as pets. The criteria also included cosponsorship of bills to require labeling of fur garments, to protect downed animals, ban horse slaughter and protect pets from being used in research.

"We are tremendously grateful to Senator Mikulski and Representatives Van Hollen, Bartlett, Cummings and Ruppersberger for their leadership for animals in 2008," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. "To pass humane laws, we need humane lawmakers. The Humane Society of the United States and our supporters in Maryland greatly appreciate their efforts in Congress."

Leaders of The HSUS and HSLF presented the awards at a reception on Capitol Hill on March 25.

Facts:

  • The HSUS and HSLF gave top federal honors for 2008 to Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., as the Humane Senator of the Year, and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., as the Humane Representative of the Year.
  • Thirty legislators received the Humane Champion award for taking the lead on an animal welfare issue and receiving a perfect score on the Humane Scorecard.
  • An additional 81 lawmakers were recipients of the Legislative Leader award for leading as a prime sponsor of pro-animal legislation, and 32 lawmakers received the Humane Advocate award for their perfect 100 percent on the scorecard.
  • The group of award recipients includes 39 Senators, 109 Representatives and Delegates covering 42 states and two U.S. territories. The full list of awardees is available online here.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 10 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and  formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. On the web at hslf.org.