By Wayne Pacelle
While it’s always our preference at The HSUS to be able to recognize those in the policy-making arena who help to advance animal protection goals, there are times when we also must call out those who stand in the way—the subject of several recent blogs here.
My posts about the emergence of an oddball character into the Missouri debate over puppy mills and one Oklahoma senator’s misuse of power in the Congress brought many responses from readers.
Last week, I told you about political commentator Joe the Plumber’s odd, new-found alignment with Missouri puppy millers. A few weeks ago, he started spewing false rhetoric against Prop B, the ballot measure to bring commonsense standards to large-scale dog breeding operations in Missouri. Here are some of your thoughts:
It sounds like Joe the Plumber has been paid to approve of puppy mills. It's unfortunate (and pitiful)…. I guess that 15 minutes of fame is really important! —catbug
He has not a clue what goes on in these puppy mills yet he is advocating for them under the guise of "no big government." It will never cease to disappoint me that some human beings have such a lack of empathy for another living creature. —Tonya Benigno
Hey can we ask Joe the plumber to go do what he is trained to do... Perhaps because his own perception of "normal" and "acceptable” is feces up to his kneecaps, he feels it is appropriate for animals to live that way as well. —Roxanne
The puppy mill advocates and the factory farmers are of the same ilk—they show no respect for the lives of the animals over whom they have dominion nor the lives of the humans they endanger because of the filthy, unhealthy, inhumane environments in which they raise their animals. —Lila Howland
You also wrote in response to my two blogs about Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who blocked from enactment six wildlife protection bills that have broad bipartisan support in the Senate and House. Sen. Coburn continuously stops the policy-making work of the U.S. Congress under the mantra of “fiscal restraint,” cherry-picking his targets (while supporting other legislation that massively contributes to the deficit) and misusing Senatorial rules to grind action to a halt through the use of the so-called “hold.” Among your comments:
I just wrote a polite note to Sen. Coburn using his own website's contact form, asking him to stop his misguided attempts at holding up these important bills. Maybe if enough of us do the same he will reconsider what he's doing. —Dave Bernazani
Wow. I had no idea there was even such a thing as a "hold" in the Senate. I don't understand how in a democratic government, one person can stop the process when the majority want to move forward. This seems very unfair, and in this case, it's unfair to the animals who might be saved by these bills being passed. I hope Senator Coburn receives negative feedback from his constituents and rethinks his stance… —Michelle Perez
I am usually proud of my state and its leaders, but every once in a while I have to agree they do something stupid. Shame on Sen. Coburn. —Karin Bingham
It is with a heavy heart that I read of Sen. Coburn's abuse of his senatorial privilege of "holding" legislation that would promote the conservation and protection of wildlife … all in the name of fiscal restraint. When an elected official carries a principle to a degree that does not benefit society as a whole, simply to be able to say they are consistent, then that official has lost their ability to do what is right for the people. This is not a partisan issue, nor is it one that can be measured in terms of dollars and cents. —Jude Mignacca, RN
Coburn’s only rival in the public policy sphere is California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is thankfully near the end of his second term. Gov. Schwarzenegger recently vetoed four animal protection bills for no compelling reason, prompting reader Victoria to write in with this comment:
Thank you for letting me know of Schwarzenegger's senseless vetoes of these important bills. As a long-time California resident, this just ticks me off! The least I can do is write a strongly worded letter to him, lame-duck though he may be, letting him know how disappointed and disgusted I am with his "leadership." It may not have much effect, but I refuse to be silent when it comes to issues that involve protecting animals. It's the least I can do for those that have no voice!