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Sens. Mary Landrieu and Tom Harkin and Rep. Fred Upton Earn Top Humane Federal Legislator Awards

158 other members of Congress recognized

Humane Society Legislative Fund

The Humane Society of the United States and its affiliate Humane Society Legislative Fund will present their 2013 Humane Legislator of the Year awards to Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and a Lifetime Achievement Award to Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, along with other recipients of the congressional Humane Awards for 2013.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS said: “I commend Representative Upton and Senator Landrieu, as our 2013 Humane Legislators of the Year, for securing game-changing, life-saving policies for chimpanzees and horses. And I am deeply grateful to Senator Harkin, who has had a role in so many positive outcomes on animal welfare during his career, including efforts to upgrade laws against animal cruelty and fighting, to promote humane alternatives to animal testing and to facilitate the transfer of hundreds of chimpanzees from laboratories to sanctuaries.

Michael Markarian, president of HSLF said: “Time and again we see animal protection issues bring Members of Congress together across party lines, reflecting the overwhelming support of mainstream Americans. We thank these leaders for giving animals a strong voice in Congress, and ensuring that our federal laws are consistent with the core humane values of American society.”

Rep. Upton is being honored for his leadership to facilitate the continued retirement to sanctuaries of federally-owned chimpanzees no longer needed in invasive biomedical research. As Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Upton played a pivotal role in winning enactment of legislation (Title III of P.L. 113-55) allowing these intelligent, social animals to live their remaining years in peace, while saving taxpayer dollars since sanctuaries are less costly than barren laboratory cages. Rep. Upton also cosponsored legislation to strengthen the federal animal fighting law by making it a crime to attend an organized animal fight and a felony to bring a child to such a fight, reforms enacted as part of the Farm Bill.

Sen. Landrieu is being honored for her leadership preventing the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption. She successfully pushed to restore a provision that bars spending by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on inspections of horse slaughter plants in fiscal year 2014, which prevented the opening of horse slaughter plants in the U.S.,  and she introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, S. 541, to protect horses and consumers by prohibiting the transport and export of U.S. horses for slaughter (American horses are not raised for food and are routinely given hundreds of drugs over their lifetimes that can be toxic to humans if ingested). Sen. Landrieu also worked to protect wild horses, to crack down on the cruel practice of “soring” show horses, to strengthen the federal animal fighting law, and to maintain the national chimpanzee sanctuary, which is based in Louisiana.

Sen. Harkin is being recognized for his outstanding years of leadership on a wide range of animal welfare legislation, including:

  • Calling on federal agencies to assess whether chimpanzees are still needed in invasive biomedical research, leading to studies that concluded research on chimps is largely unnecessary.
  • Winning Senate approval of the legislation to maintain the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary System for federally-owned chimpanzees, which provides higher welfare standards and is less costly to taxpayers than barren laboratory cages.
  • Encouraging the development of humane alternatives to animal testing that can be less costly and more accurate and effective than the use of live animals.
  • Requesting a study on the continued need for Class B dealers who acquire dogs and cats from “random sources” (including pet theft and fraudulent response to free-to-good-home ads) to sell them for laboratory experiments, and providing appropriations language to hasten an end to this practice.
  • Obtaining research and development funds for Iowa’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture to demonstrate the value of hoop barns – inexpensive, easy-to-install, open-ended structures that allow animals freedom of movement and access to pasture, and are better for the environment – as an alternative to factory farms and their intensive confinement systems.
  • Strengthening federal law, through the Farm Bills in 2002 and 2008 and free-standing legislation enacted in 2007, to more effectively crack down on animal fighting, banning interstate transport and possession of fighting animals and weapons, and establishing felony penalties. Harkin, as a House member, was instrumental in adopting the original anti-animal fighting provisions of the Animal Welfare Act in 1976.
  • Prohibiting importation of puppies from foreign puppy mills.
  • Boosting penalties for violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

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 2013, in addition to the top awards for Rep. Upton and Sens. Landrieu and Harkin:

  • Humane Champion awards will go to 30 legislators who took the lead on pro-animal legislation or a letter to an agency, signed a letter opposing the dangerous King amendment to the Farm Bill that threatened to nullify many state animal protection laws, and also received a perfect score on the 2013 Humane Scorecard.
  • Legislative Leader awards will go to 67 legislators for their leadership as prime sponsors of pro-animal legislation or a letter to a federal agency.
  • Humane Advocate awards will go to 59 legislators who received a perfect score on the 2013 Humane Scorecard and signed a letter opposing the King amendment.
  • Humane Ally awards will go to two legislators who received a perfect score on the 2013 Humane Scorecard.

Altogether, 161 legislators – more than one-third of the Senate and one-quarter of the House (representing 40 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia) – will receive awards for their work in 2013.

To see the complete list of 2013 awardees, please click here.

Previous recipients of the Humane Legislator of the Year Award include 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:  Samantha Miller: 301-258-1417; smiller@humanesociety.org

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