This is an amazingly well written
article that speaks volumes. All those involved with
animal protection should read this and share it with
others. Another article of similar magnitude is found
HERE! There is also
a well written article along the same lines on
Humane USA claims primary
election defeat of California bear hounder Rico Oller
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2004:
Humane USA claimed its first win of the 2004 federal
election campaign in the March 2 Republican primary for
the open California 3rd Congressional District seat in
the U.S. House of Representatives. Three candidates were
entered: California state senator Rico Oller, former
California attorney general Dan Lundgren, and Mary Ose,
sister of retiring Republican incumbent Dan Ose. "Humane
USA has endors-ed Mary Ose, and is targeting Oller with
mailings, radio advertisements, and going door-to-door
in the district,"
Humane USA announced a
week before the voting. Humane USA targeted Oller, the
announcement explained, because "He has sided against
humane advocates time and time again during his tenure
in the state legislature.
He has sided with
dogfighters, cockfighters, and puppy mill operators.
He has even opposed legislation to add a bittering agent
to antifreeze, toxic to companion animals and
children. Oller hunts bears with hounds," Humane USA
charged, "and has been the leading voice in the state
legislature against efforts to ban this practice." Ose
lost, despite reportedly investing $800,000 of her own
money in the campaign. Lundgren, however, was declared
the winner over Oller, 34,978 to 32,194, after eight
days of ballot counting and recounting.
Why You Should Vote in
November by Julie E. Lewin President, National
Institute for Animal Advocacy President and Lobbyist,
Animal Advocacy Connecticut
How painful the presidential campaign is! Again our
noses are publicly rubbed in our political irrelevance.
John Kerry, now the Democratic nominee, found time in
his frantic primary campaign schedule to "hunt," for
all of five minutes, posturing to win votes from
Vice President Dick
Cheney and Chief Supreme Court Justice Antony Scalia
soon afterward participated in a bird-killing spree.
News media questioned not their thrill-killing, but
rather the impropriety of such ex parte contact between
a judge and a litigant in a pending case.
As in other election
years, some animal advocates angrily contemplate
sitting out the presidential election as a mute form of
protest. That would be self-indulgent. Of course we
should vote. The presidential candidates vary greatly in
whom they would nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court, a
life appointment, and to the Federal bench.
The judges they select
will determine whether animal rights and environmental
groups achieve standing to sue on behalf of animals, as
well as the outcomes of actual cases.
The candidates would likely appoint very different
commissioners of agencies that impact the environment,
wildlife, and the care of animals in factory farms,
laboratories, and circuses. The values and attitudes
expressed by the President will also set the tone and
themes of future Presidential and Congressional
We should, however,
ask ourselves why we are politically irrelevant,
despite representing a cause that receives donations
from one household in four, nationwide, and we should
work to change this. Hunters were not born with
They created it by organizing into national and state
voting blocks, which lawmakers know can determine the
outcome of many elections.
Conversely, it is the
shame of the animal rights and animal welfare movements
that for more than 130 years we have clamored for laws
and policies on behalf of animals, yet have avoided the
political arena. Why don't more animal charities form
auxilliary political organizations? Why do we not take a
stand, role up our sleeves, and set about the hard but
necessary work of forming state, county and municipal
voting blocks for animals?
A voting block of just
a few thousand voters can swing a Congressional
election. Many statehouse elections are won or lost by
100 or even a dozen votes, as are municipal elections.
Lawmakers' fear of such elections gives organized
minorities their power. In Connecticut, my state,
approximately 2.5 million people are eligible to
register to vote. Barely two million have registered,
meaning that 20% of the potential electorate has yet to
Only slightly more
than one million people voted in 2002 for Governor, for
our members of Congress, and for state legislative
representatives. Sixty percent of the public failed to
express any political choice. Surveys indicate that
women and young voters, the very populations most
likely to hold pro-animal views, were among the people
least likely to vote, even though their votes could
have ousted several incumbents with negative records on
animal issues and enough accumulated seniority to hold
disproportionate influence on key legislative
Forty percent of
Connecticut voters failed to cast a ballot in the
exceptionally closely contested 2000 Presidential race,
and did not express their views about who should control
Congress and the Statehouse, either. Only 722,000
people voted in our 2003 municipal elections.
Seventy-one percent of Connecticut voters allowed as few
as 15% to determine critical issues involving animal
control and wildlife habitat, among other topics,
without even expressing a choice.
At the municipal
level, anyone who could mobilize even 5% of the voters
would direct a force that no politician could ignore.
Contact your state elections agency and your local city
hall or county seat to get the voter turnout statistics
for your own location. The potential for animal
advocates to quickly alter the political arithmetic
should quickly become evident. As the late U.S. Senator
Paul Well-stone put it, "Dare to imagine what politics
can be!" And in the last words of early U.S. labor
activist Joe Hill, "Don't mourn--organize!"
Julie Lewin founded
the National Institute for Animal Advocacy in
2002 to teach political skills to animal advocates. The
next two NIFAA training seminars are to be held in
Connecticut on May 23 and July 24. Contact Lewin c/o <firstname.lastname@example.org>;
203-453-6590. Get further information about NIFAA at
Lewin, at <www.aact-online.org>.
"Don't waste votes again."
Animal people who say
they can't support a hunter (John Kerry) for president
scare me. Yes, I was deeply disappointed to learn about
Kerry's hunting. It was a reminder that no pedestal is
strong enough to hold any person for long. I fear this
single perceived fault could cost America four more
years of Bush--a disaster for the environment,
international relations, civil liberties, women,
children, the economy, our security, the military,
working people, old people, sick people, and animals.
It is dangerous to
suggest there are "worse" forms of hunting than others.
But if you despise trophy and "sport" hunting (canned or
otherwise) as much as I do, you want Bush and Cheney
gone. They both engage in these despicable activities
and support them worldwide through their close ties with
Safari Club International. After working to save
mourning doves from target practice, I was shocked to
learn Kerry had hunted them, as well as pheasants.
I'm unaware of other
animals Kerry may have hunted. That is beside the
point. Like it or not, many Americans have grown up in
a "hunting culture." Hunting is a part of the American
psyche that we must acknowledge and learn to understand
while we discourage it. To those who insist that vegan
Kucinich is "the one," I reply, "Wouldn't that be
He won't be. Neither
will Nader. We must not throw the baby out with the bath
water. It will likely be Kerry vs. Bush (and now--damn
it!--vs. Nader). Could you take a repeat of election
2000? Wake up to the American political system. Don't
waste votes again. Votes not cast for Kerry can be
considered as being given to Bush--and against all forms
of life not boasting a large bottom line. --Judy Reed
AnimalVoices Speaking For Animals & Their Environment
7267 S. Clermont Drive Centennial, CO 80122
Merritt Clifton Editor, ANIMAL PEOPLE P.O. Box 960
Clinton, WA 98236