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Hillary Clinton (D)
While in the Senate in 2008, Clinton scored 83 on the HSLF scorecard. While serving as Secretary of State and First Lady, Clinton did not receive a score from the HSLF. Senator Clinton’s score was determined by the fact that she voted in favor of animals on four out of five animal rights issues that passed through the Senate in 2007. Additionally, she co-sponsored the following bills:
Senate Bill 311, a ban on the transport, possession, purchase, and sale of horses to be slaughtered for human consumption. This resolution passed and was made into law in April 2007.
Senate Bill 394 which required the humane euthanasia of livestock too sick or injured to walk, as well as strengthened penalties for violations of the Humane Slaughter law. This eventually passed and was made into law in March 2009.
Senate Bill 261 which would establish felony-level penalties for violations of the federal law on dog fighting, cockfighting, and other animal fighting. This bill passed and was signed into law in March 2007.
Unfortunately Senator Clinton abstained from voting at all on Senate Bill 714, which. If it had passed, would prohibit the use in research of dogs and cats obtained through random sources, which can include theft of family pets and fraudulent response to “free to good home” ads. Unfortunately this did not pass and is still being researched. She also decided not to sign onto a letter to the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee seeking funds for enforcement of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, Animal Welfare Act, and federal animal fighting law, as well as for programs to address the needs of animals in disasters and to ease a shortage of veterinarians in rural and inner-city areas and public health practice through student loan forgiveness. The funds were awarded regardless, in March 2009.
Bernie Sanders (D)
Senator Sanders earned an HSLF rating of 100. Senator Sanders’ score is the most recent, and was determined by the fact that he cast votes on all eight animal rights issues that passed through the Senate in 2014. Of those eight Acts, he voted in favor of seven of them. He also received “extra credit” for being a leader in writing and co-sponsoring animal rights legislation.
In 2007, Senator Sanders co-sponsored all of the following bills:
Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act which aimed to prevent the breeding and possession of big cats, while still permitting accredited zoos and wildlife sanctuaries to operate in the important conservation and welfare role that they currently play in the United States.
Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act which attempted to make sure that breeders and pet store owners provide dogs with living spaces that are clean, spacious, and are free of infestation by pests or vermin, as well as require that the health of these dogs be monitored by a veterinarian. The PUPS Act also aimed to close loopholes that allow domestic puppy mills to continue operating in the United States.
Safeguard American Food Exports Act which aimed to permanently prohibit the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the United States, along with the transportation of horses for slaughter overseas. Unfortunately this bill did not pass through Congress.
Captive Primate Safety Act which would make it unlawful for a person to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase a live animal of any prohibited wildlife species in interstate or foreign commerce. Primates are often abused and neglected as pets, taken from their mothers shortly after birth, chained in a backyard or confined in a basement cage and deprived of social interaction with other primates. They can become very aggressive and dangerous and can transmit diseases that pose serious public health and safety risks. This bill was approved in July of 2014.
Egg Products Inspection Act which aimed to phase out the use of battery cages for egg laying hens in favor of enriched housing that allows chickens room to move, and includes perches, nesting boxes, and places to scratch. It would prohibit forcing new laying cycles by withholding food or water and making sure the ammonia levels from manure are kept low. Unfortunately this bill only had 18 cosponsors and did not pass.
Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act which aimed to amend the Animal Welfare Act to impose criminal penalties for attending or encouraging anyone less than 18 years of age to attend an animal fighting venture. This bill was signed into law in February of 2014.
Prevent All Soring Tactics Act which aimed to eliminate the cruel practice of “soring,” in which horse trainers intentionally inflict pain on the hooves and legs of show horses to exaggerate their high-stepping gait. An amended version of the bill passed so that owners and caretakers who are found guilty of participating in soring may be disqualified from participating in any aspect of equestrian competitions for up to a year and can be fined up to $3,000.
In addition to co-sponsoring the above bills, Senator Sanders voted YES on the Agricultural Act of 2014, which preserved hundreds of state and local laws protecting food safety, animal welfare and agriculture. The Act ended up passing and becoming law.
However, he did vote YES on the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014, which, if it had passed, would have allowed sport hunting and trapping on federal lands—including designated wilderness areas. Thankfully, this bill was defeated 41-56.
Senator Sanders earned “extra credit” from the HSLF for, “leading as a prime sponsor of pro-animal legislation” which is why his score was still 100 despite his YES vote on the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014.