December 2, 2008
Thank you for recently writing to President-elect Obama’s transition team to express your support for a Secretary of Agriculture who takes animal protection seriously. Over the past week, you may have heard specific names mentioned for this important post, as well as for the Secretary of the Interior. These two cabinet positions have a major impact on animal welfare, and below are our recommendations for these key appointments. We hope you will once again make your voice heard and write to President-elect Obama.
With oversight of the Animal Welfare Act and the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, the Secretary of Agriculture is responsible for enforcing a broad range of laws -- including those covering puppy mills, animal slaughter, animal fighting, and food safety. We believe that John Boyd Jr., founder and president of the National Black Farmers Association, and former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, would be excellent choices for this post. However, we strongly object to former Representative Charlie Stenholm, who has been extremely hostile to even the most modest animal protection reforms, and has been a paid lobbyist for the factory farming and horse slaughter industries. It would be a disaster for animals if he were to be appointed to this position or any other position of authority over animal welfare matters.
The Secretary of the Interior oversees the enforcement of key wildlife laws, such as the Endangered Species Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and wildlife management practices on hundreds of millions of acres of federal land. We think the best candidates for this position are Representatives Raúl Grijalva and Jay Inslee and former Interior Department Deputy Secretary David Hayes. Conversely, we oppose Representative John Salazar, as he has been hostile to a wide range of animal protection policies, including efforts to halt the trophy hunting of polar bears and to protect wild horses from slaughter. Salazar was even aligned with former Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo in an attempt to weaken the Endangered Species Act. Click here to learn more about these candidates and add your voice to these recommendations.
We hope that President-elect Obama will consider the importance of animal protection when appointing these positions, and that you will join us to express your support for individuals who embrace animal protection as a worthy goal. And don't forget to tell your friends and family to take action, too.
Thank you for all you do for animals.
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States