Humane USA — an animal rights political action committee created by the Humane Society of the United States, The Fund for Animals and other groups — is targeting U.S. Senate candidate Chris John for his pro-cockfighting views.
John is part of a three-way race for an open U.S. Senate seat in Louisiana. He is running against Republican David Vitter and fellow Democrat John Kennedy. Both Vitter and Kennedy oppose cockfighting. Currently Vitter is leading the race polling at about 43 percent, but if no candidate receives a majority then a runoff election between the two top vote getters is held.
In article on its website, Humane USA says,
Chris John is clearly out of step with Louisiana voters. He has established himself as the go-to guy in Congress for the cockfighting industry. Louisiana is one of two states where cockfighting is legal, and John has been a staunch advocate of the activity in which roosters are pumped with drugs, sharp knives and razors are strapped to their legs, and they are forced to hack each other to death for entertainment and gambling.
When legislation to ban the interstate transport of fighting birds came up before the House Agriculture Committee, John tried to bottle it up. “Let me be very clear about my position on this,” he lectured. “I strongly support the cockfighting industry in Louisiana. I am adamantly opposed to this piece of legislation, and I will vote against it in every opportunity that I have.” He described cockfighting, in an interview with the Baton Rouge Advocate, as a “cultural, family-typeÂ” activity and “an industry that is very important to America.”
Humane USA is running ads against John in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport and Lafayette, and also plans for a mass mailing target Democratic and independent women voters in the state.
Humane Society targets Senate candidate Chris John. KATC.Com, October 2004.
Chris John Supports Extreme Animal Cruelty. Humane USA, October 2004.
Humane USA recently endorsed Democrat John Kerry for president in the upcoming U.S. election. According to its web site, Humane USA is a political action committee formed by leaders of animal rights groups including The Humane Society of the United States, The Fund for Animals, Farm Sanctuary, ASPCA, Doris Day Animal League, Animal Welfare Institute, The Ark Trust, Animal Rights Foundation of Florida.
In a press release announcing its endorsement, Humane USA said,
- Kerry was the co-author with former Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH) of the successful effort to halt an annual $2 million subsidy for the mink industry Â– terminating a taxpayer give-away to the corporate mink industry. Kerry and Smith shepherded this amendment through the Senate during debate on the Fiscal Year 1995 Agriculture Appropriations Act, and they have repelled subsequent efforts by legislators aligned with the mink industry to revive the taxpayer boondoggle.
- Kerry has a notable record of co-sponsoring animal friendly legislation, including support of measures to combat cockfighting, bear baiting, canned hunts, puppy mills, the bear parts trade, the exotic pet trade, steel-jawed leghold traps, and the abuse of Â“downedÂ” livestock.
- Kerry has also exerted leadership in securing important funds for animal protection. In recent years, he and Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) co-authored letters sent to the leaders of the Senate Subcommittee on Agriculture Appropriations to increase funding for existing animal protection laws, including the Animal Welfare Act and the Humane Slaughter Act. Thanks in part to KerryÂ’s leadership Â– and his collaboration with the powerful senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) Â– the Congress has provided more than $26 million in new funds for animal protection programs in recent years.
The President of the United States has a major impact on public policies that affect the lives of animals. The Animal Welfare Act, Humane Slaughter Act, Horse Protection Act, and a long list of other federal laws need proper enforcement if their original purposes are to be fulfilled. The president also shapes how Congress views new legislative proposals to protect animals from cruelty and abuse. We need John Kerry Â– not George W. Bush Â– in the White House.
Interestingly, as Humane USA points out, the Bush campaign’s web site also highlights the support Kerry has received from animal rights groups the Humane Society of the United States and the Fund for Animals,
John Kerry has the highest rating on the Humane Scorecard sponsored jointly by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Fund for Animals. Both groups are firmly committed to ending hunting in this country.
- HSUSÂ’ website says Â“sport hunting Â– the killing of wild animals as recreation Â– is fundamentally at odds with the values of a humane, just and caring societyÂ” (emphasis added). (www.hsus.org/ace/12035; viewed 7/5/04).
- Heidi Prescott, the National Director of the Fund for Animals, said in a 1995 speech that the Fund for Animals is Â“unalterably opposed to the killing of animals for sportÂ” (emphasis added). (Speech by Heidi Prescott to the 4th Annual Governors Symposium on North AmericaÂ’s Hunting Heritage, August 1995)
Humane USA Endorses John Kerry for President. Press Release, Humane USA, Undated.
John Kerry on Hunting. Press Release, GeorgWBush.com, July 10, 2004.