Big U.S. election wins for farm animals, greyhounds & pro-animal candidates
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2008:
(Actual publication date 11-5-08.)
SACRAMENTO, BOSTON, WASHINGTON D.C. Animals won big on November 4, 2008 on all political fronts.
California voters approved giving battery-caged chickens room to spread their wings, and banned veal crates and sow gestation stalls.
Massachusetts voters banned greyhound racing making Massachusetts the first state to ban greyhound racing while still hosting active greyhound tracks.
Arizona voters crushed a proposition which would have made it nearly impossible to pass any future ballot initiative dealing with animal protection, exulted Humane Society Legislative Fund president Mike Markarian.
At 12:47 a.m. on November 5, with ballots in many close races still being counted, 248 candidates endorsed by the Humane Society Legislative Fund had won seats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Only 10 had lost.
Democrats Barack Obama and Joseph Biden, the first presidential and vice presidential candidates endorsed by the Humane Society Legislative Fund, had won at least 349 electoral votes and 52% of the popular vote, sweeping into office supported by strong Democratic majorities in both the Senate and House.
For the first time in 20 years the White House will be be occupied by a non-hunter. For the first time since Richard Nixon resigned in 1974, the president will take office with a positive record on pro-animal legislation.
California Proposition 2 won 63% support with 95% of precincts reporting, as of dawn on November 5.
No state in the U.S. and no agribusiness titan anywhere in the U.S. can overlook this mandate: people do not want farm animals to be treated with wanton cruelty, declared Humane Society of the U.S. president Wayne Pacelle.
The factory farm corporations that spent $9 million to oppose Proposition 2 would have us all believe that urban city slickers just don t know what it s really like on the farm. They tried to romanticize agriculture and use farmers as spokespersons, even though these are the very corporations that have polluted rural communities and pushed family farms out of business, added Markarian. The vote demonstrates that urban and rural citizens alike saw through it all. We didn t just win wide margins in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area. We also won solid majorities in rural counties such as Kern, Imperial, Riverside, and San Bernardino.
As California goes, so goes the nation, predicted Farm Sanctuary president Gene Baur. Veal crates, gestation crates and battery cage confinement have been banned throughout Europe, but remain common across most of the U.S. With the passage of Proposition 2, California becomes the fifth state to outlaw gestation crates, joining Florida, Arizona, Oregon and Colorado, and is the third to outlaw veal crates, joining Arizona and Colorado. California becomes the first state to ban battery cages for laying hens. Other states will follow, Baur said.
Agreed the agribusiness trade publication Feedstuffs, Passage represents a huge victory for Farm Sanctuary and the Humane Society of the United States… It is largely expected that Farm Sanctuary and HSUS will employ momentum from their victory to carry the measure to other states that have ballot initiatives, and to state assemblies in those states that do not.
Question 3, requiring an end to greyhound racing in Massachusetts by 2010, drew 57% voter support. Grey2K USA founders Christine Dorchak and Carey Theil succeeded in passing the greyhound racing ban in their third try. Losing their first attempt in 2000 by just 1% of the vote, they appeared likely to win in 2006, until the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts rejected as overbroad a proposed ballot initiative that besides banning greyhound racing would also have increased the sentences for dogfighting and harming police dogs.
Proposition 105 in Arizona was promoted by animal use industries to thwart the passage of initiatives such as Proposition 2 and Question 3, after Arizona voters banned veal crates and sow gestation crates by almost a two-to-one margin in 2006, and kept greyhound tracks from expanding into slot machine gaming in 2002.
If Proposition 105 had passed, said Markarian, any new ballot initiative would have needed a majority of all the registered voters in the state, whether they choose to show up at the polls or not, rather than a majority of the people who vote. No candidate has to meet that standard, and it s a nearly impossible standard to meet. Counting people who don t vote as automatic no votes would have been a de facto ban on ballot initiatives.
Proposition 105 lost, 66% to 34%.
Agribusiness and the greyhound industry have already indicated that they will now seek to overturn the passage of Proposition 2 and Question 3 on constitutional grounds, but efforts to thwart the strongly expressed views of voters in court have historically seldom succeeded. Both Proposition 2 and Question 3 were endorsed by about 20% more voters than the winning presidential ticket, indicating favor by voters across most of the political spectrum.
The presidential race ended with humane organizations reminding Obama of his campaign pledge to adopt a shelter dog for his daughters.
Losing vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, who built her image around her enthusiasm for moose hunting, four days before the election accepted what she believed was an invitation to hunt baby seals with French president Nicholas Sarkozy. In truth the call from Sarkozy was a prank played on her by Quebecois radio comedians Sebastien Trudel and Marc-Antoine Audette.
As Alaska governor, Palin has pursued the most aggressive predator control policy that Alaska has had since winning statehood in 1959, to make more moose and caribou available to human hunters.