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The HSUS Honors Humane Federal Legislators of 2009

Rahall takes top award; 130 other lawmakers recognized

WASHINGTON — The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization, and its affiliate, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, have announced the recipients of the congressional Humane Awards for 2009.

Top honor as 2009 Humane Legislator of the Year will go to House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., for his leadership on the Restore Our American Mustangs (ROAM) Act to overhaul the Interior Department's management of wild horses on public lands and restore the prohibition on the commercial sale and slaughter of wild horses and burros; and for skillfully guiding 11 wildlife protection measures successfully through that Committee and to approval by the full House.  

"Chairman Rahall has done a remarkable job leading the House to pass an extraordinary breadth of important wildlife measures, as well as personally championing the cause of wild horses on public lands," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. "He has made the House Natural Resources Committee a real force for good on behalf of animals, and we are so grateful for his compassion, tenacity and skillful legislative work."

Every year, the Humane Society Legislative Fund 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 as well as co-sponsorship of important pro-animal bills and support for adequate funding needed to enforce key animal welfare laws. For 2009, in addition to the top award for Rep. Rahall:

  • Humane Champion awards will go to 19 legislators who took the lead on animal welfare legislation and also received a perfect score on the 2009 Humane Scorecard.
  • Legislative Leader awards will go to 83 legislators for their leadership as prime sponsors of pro-animal legislation.
  • Humane Advocate awards will go to 28 legislators who received a perfect score on the 2009 Humane Scorecard.

In total, 131 legislators — one-third of the Senate and nearly one-quarter of the House (representing 36 states and two U. S. territories) — will receive awards for their work in 2009. To see the complete list of 2009 awardees, please click here.

"We're grateful to the many Members of Congress who are helping to forge a path to a more humane future through their demonstrated leadership on animal protection legislation," said Michael Markarian, president of HSLF. "Our animal welfare laws are a reflection of our basic values and attitudes shared by people across the country."
Previous recipients of the Humane Legislator of the Year Award include Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., in 2005; Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn., in 2006; Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., in 2007; and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., in 2008.


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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. 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

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. 

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