WASHINGTON (January 19, 2006) As Congress returns for the 2nd Session of the 109th Congress, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is recognizing U.S. Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) and U.S. Reps. Roscoe Bartlett (R-6th), Elijah Cummings (D-7th), Chris Van Hollen (D-8th), and Albert Wynn (D-4th) for their advocacy on animal welfare issues considered by the Congress in 2005.
The HSUS recognized Rep. Bartlett for his leadership in working to pass the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act, H.R. 817, which seeks to create felony-level penalties for illegal dogfighting and cockfighting activities, and to ban the interstate and foreign commerce in cockfighting implements. The need for this legislation has become even more urgent, as the illegal transport of cockfighting birds has been linked to the spread of deadly bird flu.
Sens. Mikulski and Sarbanes and Reps. Bartlett, Cummings, Van Hollen, and Wynn were all honored for receiving scores of 100 on the Humane Scorecard. For 2005the first half of the 109th CongressThe HSUS has scored members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives on their votes on horse slaughter; their co-sponsorship of bills to crack down on animal fighting, provide better oversight at mass dog breeding puppy mills, and stop the sale of downed livestock who are too sick or injured to walk; their signing of a letter requesting funding for enforcement of animal welfare laws; and their leadership on animal legislation.
We are tremendously grateful to these lawmakers for their leadership and support for animal protection policies, said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. In order to pass humane laws, we need humane lawmakers. Senators Mikulski and Sarbanes and Representatives Bartlett, Cummings, Van Hollen, and Wynn deserve this important recognition for their compassion.
Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) was honored as The HSUSs Humane Legislator of the Year, and 13 legislators were given the Humane Champion award for receiving a perfect score on the Humane Scorecard and taking the lead on an animal welfare issue in 2005. An additional 31 lawmakers were recipients of the Legislative Leader award for their leadership as a prime sponsor of pro-animal legislation, and 70 elected officials were given the Humane Advocate award for scoring 100 on the report card. A complete list of award recipients is online at http://www.hsus.org.
An important day has arrived for the animal protection movement when more than one-fifth of the entire Senate and House of Representatives can be considered leaders for the protection of animals, added Pacelle. In 2005, animal welfare issues were part of our national public discourse at a higher level than ever before, and our elected officials are taking notice that the American people want stronger laws for animals.
The average score on the Humane Scorecard was 44 in the Senate and 45 in the House of Representatives. Senate Democrats averaged a 62 while Senate Republicans averaged 29. House Democrats scored a 66 while House Republicans came in at 26. Lawmakers in New England led the pack with an average score of 86, followed by the Mid-Atlantic with 69, the West with 57, the Midwest with 40, the Southeast with 29, and the Rocky Mountains/Southwest with 20. In the Senate, nine Republicans, 10 Democrats and one Independent were leaders on pro-animal legislation; in the House, 15 Republicans and 10 Democrats took the lead.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nations largest animal protection organization representing more than 9.5 million members and constituents. The non-profit organization is a mainstream voice for animals, with active programs in companion animals and equine protection, disaster preparedness and response, wildlife and habitat protection, animals in research and farm animal welfare. The HSUS protects all animals through education, investigation, litigation, legislation, advocacy, and field work. The group is based in Washington and has numerous field representatives across the country. On the web at http://www.hsus.org.