A Trump administration and animal protection

By on November 10, 2016 with 31 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

In the United States, we fight like cats and dogs during elections. But in their aftermath, we’re not nearly as forgiving as creatures who get into a scrape and then put the tussle behind them.

The nation has just gone through a tough battle, with half the country supporting one candidate and half backing the other.

Donald Trump is our president-elect. We congratulate him. To play politics at this level and to succeed requires real ability, and skill. I’ve long admired the prior winners – the Bushes, father and son, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama – and we admire Trump for amassing the votes needed for victory. He’s the second recent president to win in the electoral college but to lose the popular vote – an especially important reminder of responsibilities associated with governing in a divided nation.

When the nation is split as it is, a very capable political leader will gravitate to the issues that bind us together. There is no shortage of these issues, and animal protection is certainly one of them. That was on display this week, as voters overwhelmingly approved animal protection ballot measures to protect farm animals from extreme confinement in Massachusetts (passing Question 3 with 78 percent of the vote), and wildlife from poachers and traffickers (passing Measure 100 in Oregon with 70 percent of the vote). At the same time, they rejected an overreaching attempt to deregulate agriculture in Oklahoma (defeating Question 777 with more than 60 percent of the vote).

As those votes reinforce yet again, we have a mainstream agenda at The HSUS. And any good person – Democrat, Republican, or Independent – should support an agenda grounded on opposition to animal cruelty. Both Clinton and Trump voters lined up with us in these states on these issues. We invite President-elect Trump to embrace the core of our agenda because it’s good for the country. It also happens to unite so many of us, including our members and volunteer leaders who are devoted Republicans and conservatives. As a businessman, we hope Mr. Trump will embrace the principles of the humane economy – recognizing that an embrace of animal protection is good for business.

The table is set for him in Congress:

  • The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act has a majority of the House as cosponsors. The Senate bill – led by Pat Toomey, R-Penn., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., both re-elected on Tuesday – has broad bipartisan support in Congress and has been endorsed by more than 200 law enforcement agencies across the country. It should be first on the list for action.
  • The Prevent All Soring Tactics Act has even more congressional support. It has more than 300 House and Senate cosponsors, and the practice of injuring horses’ feet to exaggerate their performance in competitions is disgraceful. Every legitimate horse industry organization and the equine veterinary community favors the bill.
  • The Humane Cosmetics Act not only has strong bipartisan support, but it has dozens of major corporations behind it. Here again, animal welfare groups and businesses are aligned.
  • The Pet and Women’s Safety Act is about stopping domestic violence to animals, children, and women. It provides federal help to equip women’s shelters with animal care facilities, so the women can get out of a dangerous relationship and take their animals with them. So many victims of domestic violence fear leaving their pets behind because they know the abuser will torment or kill the animal as an act of vengeance.
  • The Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act not only has The HSUS behind it, but also The Jockey Club, which consists of so many major horse owners, track owners, and other prominent leaders within the industry.

I must confess that we are alarmed by candidate Trump’s declared intentions to do away with Obama-era regulations. When it comes to regulations to stop cruelty, these are not onerous regulations for business. These are good for business and for the country, reflecting our values that cruelty to animals is never acceptable, as a personal matter or as a matter of business. Strip away the regulations, and you strip away our values.

It would be unthinkable to roll back important rules:

  • USDA banned the use of downer cows in the food supply. Animals unable to walk have been dragged into slaughter plants or pushed with bulldozers. It’s unsafe for the animals, for the workers, and for consumers who eat meat from sick animals dragged in manure and waste.
  • The Obama Administration banned the trade in ivory. Some of the poachers who kill elephants finance terrorist activities by selling ivory. These people are no friends to elephants or to the countries where the elephants live. They are no friends to the United States, either.
  • The National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service adopted rules to stop aerial scouting and shooting of wolves and grizzly bears, trapping of grizzlies, and other inhumane and appalling hunting practices on federal lands. These lands were set aside to protect the animals, and Alaska generates hundreds of millions of dollars in tourist revenue because people come to these lands to view these animals in their native habitats.

A Trump Administration can also help advance important animal protection goals, with a proactive agenda, by:

  • Enacting a regulation to fortify humane standards of care for dogs in commercial breeding operations. Puppy mills are notorious for mistreating dogs, and Americans will continue to turn away from dog breeders as long as the standards allow dogs to be kept in small wire cages for their entire lives.
  • Expanding the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act to include poultry. Americans don’t realize that there are no federal protections at slaughterhouses for 95 percent of animals whose carcasses are certified by USDA for consumption. Our federal humane slaughter laws exclude poultry.
  • Reforming check-off programs that tax family farmers and amount to a political slush fund for commodity trade associations.

We welcome the opportunity to sit down with the president-elect and to elaborate on our agenda. And it’s our earnest hope he appoints to key positions within his administration people who represent the values of the nation. To select people from special interest groups who oppose mainstream animal welfare reforms and who would treat their appointment as an opportunity to serve narrow constituencies and do harm to animals, will get him off on the wrong foot on this set of issues. It will contradict a winning message of change that so many millions of voters embraced.

Animal Research and Testing, Companion Animals, Farm Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Diana says:

    Sorry but it sounds like you are already trying to foment discontent. You seem to think one party has it over the other when the issue is animal welfare despite what you write.
    Do not assume those who love and value nature/wildlife only belong to your party of choice.

    Would your blog have taken such an ominous tone of your candidate of choice had won?

    Big pharma, agi-business, chemical corporations (ie Monsanto) put their money behind the candidate you actually favored.

    • Catalina says:

      Seriously? Have you already forgotten the campaign? Trump is the epitome of fomenting discontent. How ironic that while Germany was celebrating the fall of the Berlin wall, the U.S. elects a president whose priority is to build a similar wall!

    • LES says:


    • Ricky says:

      did we just read the same article?

    • Bleeks says:

      It is now March and Congress will allow helicopter hunting of wolves and bears, to kill pups in their dens, and has taken down names of inhumane puppy mills off the EPA website. Wake up!!!!! These people are bad people. The blogger did not go far enough. Republican Congress either cares for money over what is right, or Bannon is the anti christ. Take your pick.

  2. Dawn Jeronowitz says:

    Let’s not forget our Horses : Safeguard American Food Exports Act. Our American Horses are not intended for human consumption; doing so poses a threat to food safety, potentially jeopardizing human health. Preventing horse slaughter is a huge priority, after all, many depend on our horses for matters ranging from disabilities, PTSD, law enforcement, employment or simply companionship. We need to employ more horses in our lives, not on our dinner plates

    • Jayne Fawcett says:

      Yes and the psychopaths who keep them and transport them to slaughter suffer them horrifically. There are Two petitions against such places on change.org right now.They are starved to death, are not even given water. We need to stop the slaughter and sale and transport out of the U S to Mexico and Canada. When that is banned and no longer a lucrative business..then we will have made the necessary progress that is needed to become a humane society to horses.

  3. Laura Bianchi says:

    Dear HSUS:

    I am devastated to hear that Mr.Trump will be the next president because his boys are trophy hunters. Total disregard, and disrespect for wildlife. I pray that he will have some decency in animal protections, but he was heavily backed by the NRA, that is not good for animals.

    I hope that the HSUS will be able to get some good bills passed, but I am as I said, devastated.

    Best of Luck!!!

    • sue mitchel says:

      Yes…It’s Safari International that seduces all these people into wanting to big game hunt. It holds the states most profitable Convention in NV. So profitable that the The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority picked the Safari Club chief DeLone as it’s new CEO.

  4. Karla Starkenberg says:

    We, as a nation, must show compassion for our most vulnerable – those lacking the voices to speak up for themselves. I am in favor of stronger protections for all animals – domesticated and wild. It’s good for the animals, for the planet, and for us.

    • Jayne Fawcett says:

      I so agree. All animals have rights. Unfortunately we as a society do not respect their rights. Very heartbreaking for the animals and those of us who believe that EVERY life is important and valuable.

  5. Robynne Catheron says:

    I hope and pray you’re right, Wayne, that the president-elect will appoint intelligent, non-biased, and compassionate individuals to serve with him.

    Unfortunately, I just can’t see him changing the color of his spots. It’s my understanding that Mr Trump has no feelings whatsoever for animals, whether they’re for pets or food, wild or domestic. Equine welfare advocates report that he plans to slash the budget of the Dept of Agriculture by rounding up the remaining few wild horses and burros and sending them to slaughter, along with the 50,000 already in government holding.

    There is also speculation that he would like to appoint one of his big-game-hunting sons, Eric as Secretary of the Interior. These are the same sons that enjoy trophy-hunting wild animals like elephants and cheetas, and proudly posting photos of themselves holding a severed elephant tail and with their other well-posed kills.

    If anyone can convince Mr Trump to support animal welfare legislation, you can. My prayers are with you.

  6. Ellen Dougherty says:

    We hope and pray that the Trump administration will continue to enforce the animal rights and animal safety rules put in effect by the Obama administration and to implement the suggested changes endorsed by the Humane Society of,the United States.

  7. Marilyn Wilson says:

    Where’s the SAFE Act? And ending horse slaughter? Geez!

  8. Hope Brustein says:

    Why would we congratulate the fascist Donald Trump? Would we go back and congratulate Hitler at the time of his election? All animals deserve our moral concern – that includes Muslims, Black people, LGBTQ people, Latinos, etc. The planet also deserves our profound concern. A president who either does not believe in climate change or is willing to say he does not to keep his cronies with him is a serious threat to ALL living creatures. I understand that you lead a major international humane society. But to follow suit with this collaboration and complicity with fascists will not serve our cause well. I am disappointed in HSUS and will not longer support you in any way if you collaborate with Donald Trump and his regime. Shocked.

    • Diana says:

      I think you have your fascists wrong there Hope. Which candidate received the big donation bucks from those awful capitalists on Wall Street? Monsanto and Bayer the bee killers? Corrupt big pharma?
      And of course the HSUS will try to work with the new administration as well they should.
      The work for animals is never done and you don’t give up the fight just because things don’t go your way.

      • Chelsea says:

        I am so sick and tired of people like you saying that people like Hope and myself are upset because we “didn’t get our way”. We are upset because we believe that Trump is very likely to destroy our world, either through nuclear war, environmental devastation, or destroying our democracy. I live in fear very day of my life.

        The fact that half the country doesn’t see what a danger Trump is shows the failure of our education system. It has failed to instill basic critical thinking skills, as well as a basic understanding of civics and science. Heck, my high school didn’t teach anything about critical thinking or much about the scientific process, and our history lessons were superficial and never went past the 1930s. Also, if you don’t realize that Trump (or his buddy Putin) has strong fascist leanings, you obviously haven’t done much research on Trump.

        If you actually read Hope’s post, you would be aware she isn’t upset that she “didn’t get her way”. Since you apparently missed this, I will quote:

        “All animals deserve our moral concern – that includes Muslims, Black people, LGBTQ people, Latinos, etc. The planet also deserves our profound concern. A president who either does not believe in climate change or is willing to say he does not to keep his cronies with him is a serious threat to ALL living creatures.”

        If you believe that Trump is not a threat to minorities (or perhaps you just don’t consider it a serious issue ) or that global warming is a hoax, give some credible evidence to back it up. But don’t say that people who believe otherwise are upset because they “didn’t get their way”.

    • Kathryn says:

      The fact is that Trump won the election. We have to deal with the world as it is, not as we would like it to be. It serves no purpose whatsoever for HSUS to refuse to try to work with the Trump administration out of spite. I’m glad Wayne took a positive instead of a defiant tack. Why would he want to turn off donors who voted for Trump? You are actually hurting animals if you refuse to support the work of HSUS because it wants to reach out to Trump. HSUS has achieved all it has precisely because it is a nonpartisan organization that builds diverse coalitions of politics and industry.

  9. Jim Lambright says:

    Let’s all work TOGETHER to be one a humane nation!

  10. Mike Deavy says:

    Pres Obama reached out to leaders in nations that disagreed with us such as Iran because he believed communications could reduce differences. That’s a good reason to continue to support the fight for animal rights, and all the other oppressed groups, no matter who needs to be included. Giving up because of the reality of who is in power is not the best way to help those who need the help. I’ve seen tremendous advances in conditions and fair treatment for animals and gay people in particular during my life so far. And I’ll work with everyone necessary to continue improvements or stop reversing the gains we’ve seen attained.

  11. Vickey Caldwell says:

    I , too think this article is biased. Although, I respect the HSUS, I am still upset and somewhat angry that the HSUS partnered with SeaWorld, which I believe sends the message that SeaWorld is good, and an educational place to go. Just because SeaWorld stopped breeding Orcas, does not mean they are planning on releasing the Orcas and other Dolphins to a Seaside Sanctuary.
    Let’s all hope and pray that President elect Trump and other lawmakers listen to the peoples voices on these critical issues. We all must continue the fight for all animals everywhere. No issues regarding animals was brought up in the debates, (to my knowledge). I do understand that the economy, security of our nation among other pressing issues was focused on. We just need to continue to Be Their Voice!

  12. Catalina says:

    I understand your position – that the HSUS must work with the powers that be in the pursuit of defending animal welfare. However, your admiration of Trump was rather disingenuous. Sadly, I think the “skill” you refer to by gaining the electoral vote resulted from his tapping into people’s discontent, fears and hatred. You don’t have to kiss up to him to negotiate. Maybe I am being naïve? Trump is an individual who foments polarization and whose presidential agenda emphasizes and prioritizes those feelings. His sons are trophy hunters with no regard to wildlife. The only hope might be our government’s checks and balances…..that is yet to be seen. I don’t think all the prayers on earth are going to suddenly make him a good person.

    • Chelsea says:

      Great post. The comment about Trump’s “skill” sickened me. I won’t praise the skills of a con artist, because I don’t admire immoral behavior, no matter how clever.

  13. Denni A says:

    looks to me the HSUS has become delusional in it’s thinking the Trump Administration will care about animals. heck I don’t think anyone of them even owns a cat or dog. the Trump boys are chompin’ at the bit to turn our Federal Lands and National Parks in animal “killing fields” for their trophy killing friends.

    don’t be surprised if we see them palling around with Walter Palmer.

  14. Kathy M says:

    We all need to pray that Trump and his sons will develop a compassionate heart for animals on our planet. God created animals, just as He created us, and if we don’t take drastic steps now to end poaching, slaughter, abuse and torture of both domestic and wild animals, they will soon be gone, and we’ll have no one but ourselves to blame. A second important prayer for us would be that humans would begin to bring home photos from their safaris – not heads, horns, tusks, and other trophies. They’ll all soon be gone at the rate they’re being killed. God help us all.

  15. Frank B says:

    Mary Fallon is pro horse slaughter. Roy Blunt is pro horse Slaughter.Jack Kingston is pro horse slaughter. If you know anything about the horse slaughter issue, you know that these names spell big trouble! You may also know that they are Trump surrogates and supporters. You may also be aware that the GOP has made many attempts to defeat anti slaughter measures. Some may indeed stand for the animals but not when it comes to the voting booth.

    • Diana says:

      And my own DEMOCRAT Senator Jeanne Shaheen is a supporter of the so-called Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement, or SHARE Act for short, despite many emails asking her not to in the interests of animal welfare.
      She and many other politicians on BOTH sides of the aisle care more about their corporate sponsors than they do about animal issues.

  16. Martha Decker says:

    Torturing Tennessee Walking Horses for fun and profit has continued since the 1960s. The bill to ban using acids, ground glass and other sadistic methods to pain the horses and accentuate the natural high step of the walking horse is a horrendous cruel practice. The book, Big Lick, by Maxwell Dickinson tells the horrific story accurately. (Box 94, Barrington, Ill. 60011-0094,) or contact our caring, animal lover Donald Trump.c/o White House.

  17. Martha Decker says:

    For thirty years I have worked to enforce the law now standing to prevent torturing horses for fun and profit. The Tennessee Walking Horse Asso. has blocked any enforcement of the bill in many devious ways. The trainers apply acid to ankles, ground glass under shoes and five pound foot weights to force the horses to step out with an exaggerated version of their natural. I urge anyone to contact animal lover, Donald Trump, and recommend the book, BIG LICK, that tells the true torture of these horses’ agony. Box 94, Barrington Hills, Ill. 60011-0094.

  18. Trish says:

    What have you been smoking or snorting? HSUS is taking a stand against what you say they are supporting. Wake up and come to the party.

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