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
endorsed Mary Ose, and is targeting Oller with
mailings, radio advertisements, and going
door-to-door in the district,"
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
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 hunters.
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
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
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 campaigns.
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 political power.
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 be mobilized.
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
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,
founded the National Institute for Animal Advocacy
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 great?"
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
7267 S. Clermont Drive Centennial, CO 80122
Merritt Clifton Editor, ANIMAL PEOPLE P.O. Box 960
Clinton, WA 98236
Telephone: 360-579-2505 Fax: 360-579-2575 E-mail:
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