Transcript of Kucinich Address to Animal Rights 2003

FARM recently posted a transcript of Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich’s address to Animal Rights 2003 in California. For some reason, Kucinich leaves out his plans to suck up to dairy farmers and others while campaigning in Iowa,

IÂ’m very grateful for the opportunity to appear before you today, and I want to begin by saluting each and every one of you individually for your personal commitment to animal rights, and for what that commitment represents for yourselves as individuals, and for who you are in the world.

We realize that we are in a world which truly needs compassion – that we need to extend compassion to one another and to everything living. And that our cause can truly be to lift up this world from a condition of suffering and cruelty to all creatures of this planet. And through elevating the cause of every creature, we elevate our own humanity. We lift up the cause of humanity by reaching out and connecting with all things living. It is our sense of interconnection with all living things that brings us to respect the rights of animals. That we understand that animals are not to be ‘lower than.’ That animals should not have less of a claim to existence, less of a claim to the possibility of survival, less of a claim to dignity.

Your commitment translates into specific action in raising the questions that must be raised about the use of animals in research, in raising the questions that must be raised about the use of animals in testing, in looking at the conditions in which animals are placed on farms. About challenging a corporate ethic which sees animals as things to be exploited and not beings which in and of themselves have some basic rights.

So your presence here serves as a reminder to this country that our presence on this planet has a higher calling. That we can, through our activism, lift up the cause of the humblest beings. That we can, through our activism, open up not only our own hearts but the hearts of people everywhere, so that our society can become more compassionate. So that our society can be more loving. So that our society can create policies which are caring for animals. Every one of us knows a story of animal cruelty. Every one of us knows how in one way or another, official policies have sanctioned cruelty to animals.

I will work with you to put compassion into action in our policies with respect to animals in this country. And I will work with you to have America set a higher standard, not only for this country, but for the world to make sure that all of godÂ’s creatures, that all animals, are given a chance to have dignity in our society, and are given a chance to experience the appreciation they should have as living beings.

About eight and a half years ago, I had the chance to make a transition in my own life, in terms of my own diet. And as someone who had a somewhat conventional diet, I learned that the choices I was making could be brought more in resonance more with who I felt that I was. And when I moved from a more conventional diet to a pretty much a vegan diet –a combination of, for me, vegetarianism, veganism, and a macrobiotic diet — I discovered a number of things that I share with people, because they ask me about it when I go around the country. I experienced better health, first of all, a renewed sense of energy and vitality, and also a greater appreciation for the choices that any individual makes that have an impact on sustainability of our world. Because what all of us stand for here really connects to the deeper issues of sustainability, of survival, of not just our species, but of all species. Because we understand this interconnection, this web of life that connects us to everything. We begin to understand how the choices each one of us makes every day influences the choices of the world. As we choose, so chooses the world. This is true when we are elevating the cause of a species, and itÂ’s also true when we elevate the cause of our planet.

As the next President of the United States I intend to amplify the concerns that are expressed here by leading the way towards total nuclear disarmament and abolition. I intend to have the United States rejoin the world community by signing the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Small Arms Treaty, the Land Mine Treaty, join the International Criminal Court, and sign the Kyoto Climate Change Treaty. I intend to take this country away from unilateralism and pre-emption and first-strike doctrines to re-embrace the world in a cause of world peace. We can create a new world, and we will.

This calling which brings you here today, this calling which excites your heart, moves your spirit to lift up the cause of all species, is a calling that we can make the calling of the world, as we call the world to connect in a great effort to once and for all work to make war itself archaic. We need to challenge the people of the nations of the world, and the leaders of the nations of the world, to help elevate the condition of this planet – to let go of war, to let go of the kind of suffering which war machines have created. We have to believe in our capacity to evolve. We have to believe in the capacity of this nation to create a new world.

This policy of creating a Department of Peace relates directly to such an undertaking. It relates to our capacity to make nonviolence an organizing principle in our society. What you stand for is the essence of nonviolence – is making sure that those who are the least able to defend themselves, the animals of our world, are going to be treated compassionately, and without having to suffer violence.

This is the time that I believe we can catch this impulse – we’re at an evolutionary moment – we can catch this evolutionary impulse to create a society which will work to make nonviolence an organizing principle. And we can do it in policies here at home, we can do it in policies working with nations of the world, we can do it so that we will be the people who created a new era – an era of peace, an era of justice, an era where we elevate the cause of all humanity and all species.

This is the time. You are the ones weÂ’ve been waiting for. Thank you!

Letter from a Kucinich Supporter — That Explains the Two Percent

My wife and I were having a discussion the other day about who exactly those 2 percent of Democrats are who tell pollsters they’re supporting Dennis Kucinich. After all, Kucinich should be polling slightly higher than that even if he was only getting the vegan vote.

This is a candidate, after all, who was actually beind in fundraising to perennial Democratic nutcase candidate Lyndon LaRouche for the third quarter of 2003. Kucinich supporters can’t possibly think he has a chance to influence Democratic politics, much less win the nomination, can they? Well, yes, apparently some of them can. Here’s the opening paragraphs of a letter from a very confused Kucinich supporter published in the January 8 edition of the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times,

Re: Kucinich takes antiwar message to Islamic center.

I was pleased to see coverage of congressman Dennis Kucinich in the Dec. 31 City&State Section by Adam Smith. However, I think it is a mistake to give much weight to these “national polls” because I have seen Kucinich ahead in many online polls, which can be found at his Web site:

And they let these people vote. Oy.


Candidate offers vision of hope. Letter to the Editor, Marcella Respini, St. Petersburg (Florida) Times, January 8, 2004.

The Most Reasonable Democat Up There Was . . .

My wife and I were watching the Democratic presidential candidate on Sunday, and she had the same reaction I did . . . the Democratic Party is in a lot of trouble when the most reasonable person on the stage seemed to be Carol Mosley Braun.

Unlike me, my wife not only votes, she’s had a habit of voting for Democrats and she’s one of those moderate centrist types that the Democrats are going to need to convince if they’re going to win in November.

The highlight of the debate had to be Braun in a very politely and restrained manner just ridiculing Dennis Kucinich’s cut-and-run strategy in Iraq.

Kucinich Doesn't Let Veganism Get in the Way of Political Aspirations

Dennis Kucinich may not eat any animal products, but that has not stopped him from seeking support from Iowa dairy farmers.

Chronicling Kucinich’s visit to the Iowa State Fair, Des Moines Register reporter Laurie Mansfield notes that Kucinich’s views about animals did not stop him from making a stop at The Dairy Barn and making his pitch to dairy farmers that regardless of what he personally eats, he’s the man to protect the family farmer.

According to Mansfield’s story,

Like the other Democratic candidates, Kucinich is making the rounds to Iowa family farms, hoping he can persuade meat and dairy farmers that he’s on their side, even though he doesn’t use their products.

“Farmers want someone who is going to stand up for them,” Kucinich said last week. “My willingness to do that means more to farmers than what my food choice happens to be because inevitably, farmers are concerned that their families are able to survive.”

At the moment, Kucinich appears to be relying heavily on the vegetarian vote as he is currently only polling 2 percent among registered Democrats or Democrat-leaning voters, putting him dead last among Democratic candidates for president.


The vegetarian candidate. Laurie Mansfield, Des Moines Register, August 23, 2003.

U.S. House Approves Funds to Combat Animal Fighting

On July 14 the U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment to the Agricultural Appropriations bill that would take $800,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s budget for building repair and maintenance and instead allocate it to focus on enforcement of animal fighting laws.

The Blumenauer-Tancredo Animal Fighting Amendment passed the House on a vote of 222-179, but still must be added to the Senate’s version of the Agricultural Appropriations bill or it will likely be removed by the conference committee on the bill.

There was a rather spirited debate on the floor of the House over the wisdom of taking the money away from the USDA’s buildings fund and applying it to animal fighting enforcement. Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas) urged the House to defeat the measure arguing that it was simply an attempt by some legislators to appease the Humane Society of the United States,

The Inspector General´s office has told us that enforcement of this will be done at a minimal level since this is a misdemeanor offense. Now, one could argue the pluses and minuses on whether it should be a more serious offense, but these are misdemeanors that are dealt with by local law enforcement agencies from around the country, and they cannot afford to devote their resources at the IG level because of this reason. The IG tells us that one case alone could cost $800,000.

Second, one of the reasons that debating this amendment today is that the Humane of the United States points out that this vote will be counted

year. The only reason that this item is even on their scorecard is that we have addressed all other of their concerns in this bill. We provided a $437,000 increase for animal welfare, $1.1 million more for regulatory enforcement in the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and fully funded the enforcement of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act in the Food Safety and Inspection Service.

If the sponsors of this amendment were serious about this, programs that the HSUS supported like the ones that I just mentioned are the ones that would be cut to pay for this amendment, but then that would force them to prioritize like the rest of us have to do.

If every Member of the House brought an amendment to the floor just because they did not get every last nickel that they wanted, we would be here all day and we could never get this bill done.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to not vote against this amendment simply because I am suggesting

, but vote against this amendment because of the following statement by an HSUS Vice
said, “The life of an ant and that of any child should be granted equal .”

This led presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), to respond,

As somebody who served in municipal government over the years, this is
came up in terms of activities that were taking place in some of the neighborhoods in my own community, and certainly people who heard about them and who were involved in the community understood that the level of violence and the level of animal cruelty was something that needed public attention.

We should have no tolerance for animal cruelty. We should have no tolerance for a system which degrades these creatures of God. And we also need to understand that, as the honorable chairman pointed out, the observation that was made official concerning the of and children, I do not think that he actually meant to equate the importance of an ant to a child, but what the statement meant to say was that all life here ought to be regarded with some degree of respect and that, in effect, when we try to come forward here and support animal welfare and support the rights of animals to not be treated cruelly, what we are doing here is, in effect, elevating our own humanity.

Like any good politician, Kucinich unsuccessfully tries to spin Michael Fox’s claim that ants and children deserve the same sort of consideration, which is not the same thing as saying that all life should be regarded “with some degree of respect.” Nice try, though, Dennis.

The full text of the debate over the amendment can be found here.