Election Roundup: ANIMALS WIN! Apparent Gains at Every Level

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1992:

WASHINGTON D.C. –– Outgoing U.S. president George Bush bought a hunting
license on Election Day. Both U.S. president elect Bill Clinton and vice president elect Albert
Gore claimed to be hunters during the election campaign––but they went jogging. Whether they
actually hunt or not, indications are that the next four years should be politically much more
favorable toward animal and habitat protection than the preceding twelve years. Neither Clinton,
a reputed wild turkey hunter, nor Gore, a one-time deer hunter, has ever been known to shoot

cage-reared quail, as Bush does every year at
Christmas. Neither has any evident associa-
tion with Safari Club International; both
Bush and his vice president, Dan Quayle, are
card-carrying members. Neither Clinton nor
Gore owes any political debt to the gun lobby.
In fact, much of the gun lobby joined other
anti-environmental interests in an all-out
attempt to keep Gore off the ticket, and then,
when that failed, tried to defeat Clinton by
portraying Gore––a political moderate with a
distinguished environmental record––as “an
environmentalist wacko.”
Although Clinton adopted the cam-
paign slogan “Putting People First,” it was
without awareness or support of the anti-ani-
mal protection group by the same name. The
group Putting People First fumed in an open
letter to Clinton about his alleged usurpation
of “our good name,” then backed Bush,
mainly by joining the attack on Gore.
Senate and House of Represent-
atives election results are as encouraging as
the outcome of the presidential race. While
animal protection measures typically receive
bipartisan support, and meet bipartisan oppo-
sition, they are historically more likely to
pass when Democrats hold the presidency,
the Senate majority, and the House majority.
The Democrats held their Senate majority of 57 seats to 42
for the Republicans, and lost only nine seats in the House,
retaining 250 of 436. Female legislators more often favor
animal protection; the number of women in the House
increased from 28 to 47. The majority of the 26-member
Congressional Black Caucus, influenced by Rep. Ron
Dellums (D-Calif.), has tended to support animal protection
bills; it gained another 16 members. Dellums easily won
re-election, as did most other candidates with strong records
on animal legislation.
Among other noteworthy House victors were
Dellums’ fellow California Democrats Tom Lantos,
cofounder of Congressional Friends of Animals, and
Anthony Beilinson, who pushed through restrictions on the
import of wild-caught birds during the just-ended 102nd
Congress; Edolphus Towns (D-New York), Robert
Torricelli (D-New Jersey), and Charles Rose (D-North
Carolina). Only two House members with significant pro-
animal records were defeated––Bill Green (R-New York),
who was narrowly upset by Democrat Carolyn Maloney,
and Peter Kostmayer (D-Pennsylvania), who was crushed
by Republican challenger Jim Greenwood. Greenwood had
heavy backing from hunters. A bill to strengthen legislation
protecting animals in entertainment that Kostmayer intro-
duced toward the end of the 102nd Congress will probably
not be reintroduced, as it hadn’t won strong support as writ-
ten even among animal protection advocates.
Anti-animal caucuses crippled
Opposition losses were heavier. Embarrassed by
the House Bank check-bouncing scandal last spring, Animal
Welfare Caucus founder Vin Weber (R-Minnesota) chose
not to seek re-election. The Animal Welfare Caucus had
been a leading political vehicle for the meat industry and the
fur trade, but so many other key members of the Caucus
also departed, one way or another, that it may not recon-
vene. Long-time arch-foe of animal and habitat protection
Ron Marlinee (R-Montana) also won’t be back: he lost his
seat to redistricting, when the former two Montana districts
were combined into one, and then lost the new seat to the
other Montana incumbent, Pat Williams––a hunter, but not
part of the Congressional Sportsman’s Caucus, and political-
ly a liberal Democrat with a good record on behalf of
wildlife. The Sportsman’s Caucus lost 35 of 133 members
in the House, as result of retirements and election defeats,
along with four of 16 members in the Senate. Both incum-
bent House Sportsman’s Caucus chair Dick Schulz (R-
Pennsylvania) and vice-chair Lindsay Thomas (D-Georgia)
will be among the missing when Congress reconvenes. One
House member, Ben Nighthorse Campbell (D-Colorado),
moved up to the Senate. Campbell, however, has such a
strong record in favor of animal and habitat protection that
he was opposed by the National Trappers Association and
blasted by columnists in Fur Age Weekly.
Campbell and new California Senators Barbara
Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, both Democrats, are expected
to substantially strengthen Senate support for pro-animal
bills. Campbell, as a rancher and member of the Northern
Cheyenne tribe, may be uniquely able to assist in negotiat-
ing reauthorization of a stronger Endangered Species Act.
Boxer, who also stepped up from the House, consistently
promoted animal protection as a Representative, and was
instrumental in preventing the Army from conducting leg-
breaking experiments on former racing greyhounds at
Letterman Hospital in San Francisco. Feinstein, a former
mayor of San Francisco, encouraged successful reform of
city animal control practices. San Francisco now has one of
the lowest rates of euthanasia of potentially adoptable ani-
mals of any city in the U.S.
Both Boxer and Feinstein defeated overtly anti-
animal candidates. Boxer edged Republican Bruce
Herschensohn, a self-described all-American man who
refused to eat his salad at one campaign appearance,
demanding a hamburger instead. Herschensohn’s platform
was largely based on opposition to environmental protec-
tion, including the Endangered Species Act. Feinstein more
easily beat incumbent Republican Senator John Seymour,
who threatened to filibuster to block Endangered Species
Act renewal. “I will give them the longest goddamned fili-
buster they ever saw in their lives,” he told 400 attendees at
a Kangaroo Rat Barbeque hosted by the California Farm
State results
At the state level, Colorado voters approved a ban
on spring bear hunting, setting bait for bears, and hunting
bears with hounds. Voters in Fort Collins, Colorado, also
refused to fund a $7 million, 35-acre zoo through a special
tax surcharge. Early polls showed the measure was favored
by a 2-1 majority. The zoo was initially opposed mainly by
animal rights activists, led by James Cherry of AmNet, an
animal rights-oriented computer bulletin board.
Opposition grew after the zoo proposal came into apparent
conflict with a measure seeking a similar surcharge to be
used in preserving green space, including wildlife habitat.
The green space measure narrowly won; the zoo proposal
lost by more than 4-to-1.
“AmNet will be happy to oblige any groups wish-
ing more detailed information on how to fight a similar bal-
lot issue,” Cherry said. “Contact us at 16056 E. Columbia
Place, Aurora, CO 80013, call 303-680-9011, or use our
bulletin board and fax number, 303-680-7791.”
Anti-trapping initiative fails
The most-publicized animal protection initiative
on state ballots, however, was Arizona Proposition 200, a
proposal to ban use of steel-jawed leghold traps on public
land (87% of the state). Favored in the polls until the final
weeks of the campaign, Proposition 200 ended up losing by
an 8-5 margin. A media blitz orchestrated by the National
Rifle Association and Wildlife Legislative Fund of America
succeeded in convincing voters against the overwhelming
weight of informed legal opinion that a phrase in the pream-
ble calling for “humane and nonlethal” wildlife management
would lead to a statewide ban on hunting and fishing. The
NRA/WLFA position was exposed and ridiculed in most of
the leading Arizona newspapers, but spending on air time
apparently determined the outcome. “We raised about
$160,000,” Proposition 200 supporter Dena Jones Jolma
told ANIMAL PEOPLE, “while the NRA spent $800,000
and Arizonans for Wildlife Conservation, organized by the
WLFA, put up another $800,000. Safari Club International,
which is headquartered in Tucson, kicked in $90,000.”
Jones Jolma, who comments on the campaign on the oppo-
site page, did see one bright spot. “Our governor, who
opposed the initiative because of the ‘humane and nonlethal’
language, has promised to see that a trapping ban makes it
through the legislature next session,” she said. “We’re not
counting on it to happen, as trapping bans have died in our
legislature before, but who knows?”
Pro-animal PACS
Pro-animal political action committees were orga-
nized to help support promising candidates and discourage
bad ones in both California and Michigan. Without signifi-
cant financial support either from national groups or other
resources, the PACS played little role in this year’s elec-
tions, but the Michigan group, Humanitarians for
Environmental and Animal Laws, did claim a small part of
the credit for defeating state representative Jerry Bartnik
during the primary elections. Bartnik had obstructed a bill
to outlaw hunting bears via telemetry. The method consists
of unleashing hounds who wear radio transmitters on their
collars, waiting until they tree a bear, than following the
radio signal to the site. Hunters opposed to telemetry orga-
nized as Sportsmen and Property Owners Rights and Tactics
Association, did two mass mailings in Bartnik’s district,
and ousted him with some HEAL-PAC help. (HEAL-PAC
can be reached for further details at P.O. Box 14291,
Lansing, MI 48901.)
The potential power of pro-animal voters was
demonstrated in Washington, Vermont, where state senator
Mary Just Skinner was upset after 14 years in office,
including four years as chair of the senate finance commit-
tee. Skinner appeared headed for yet another term until she
crushed a cat in Montpelier, the state capitol, in a hit-and-
run accident en route to a campaign appearance. Jested the
Burlington Free Press,
“There once was a woman named Skinner
who always arrived late for dinner.
One day in her haste,
a cat she did waste,
and now Skinner’s no longer a winner.”
Skinner claimed she didn’t know she’d hit the cat,
but voters apparently considered that no excuse for not stop-
The agenda
Lobbying efforts directed at the new presidential
administration and Congress are already well underway.
The most critical piece of pending legislation from an ani-
mal protection point of view is of course the renewal of the
Endangered Species Act, which now stands a much better
chance of evading attempts to subordinate species protection
to economic considerations. Wetlands conservation will
also be a hot topic, again. At deadline, outgoing vice presi-
dent Quayle was pushing to get the Bush administration to
issue rules before leaving office that would relax the federal
definition of wetlands. Quayle’s bid was opposed by
Environmental Protection Agency administrator William
Reilly. A similar cabinet-level dispute was underway
between the Department of Health and Human Services and
the USDA, concerning changes in food labeling.
Charged Senator Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio),
who helped write the labeling law the two agencies are sup-
posed to enforce, “At the behest of the meat industry,
Secretary of Agriculture Edward Madigan and White House
chief of staff Jim Baker’s office are attempting to block the
new regulations because they will provide full disclosure
about the fat content of food.”
Despite having overwhelmingly backed Bush, the
fur trade is scrambling to appear friendly toward Clinton.
The Fur Industry Council of America urged members to
send letters of congratulation to all election winners, in
preparation for an attempt to repeal the present 10% luxury
tax on the sale of fur coats worth more than $10,000.
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