Humane USA Presidential
Candidate: JOHN KERRY
Staff Contact: LUIS NAVARRO
Phone: (202) 548-6800 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The President of the United States has a major impact on public policies that affect the
lives of animals. The Animal Welfare Act, Humane Slaughter Act, Horse Protection Act,
and a long list of other federal laws need proper enforcement if their original purposes are
to be fulfilled. The president also shapes how Congress views new legislative proposals
to protect animals from cruelty and abuse. For more information on animal protection
issues, check our web site at Humaneusa.org (Humane USA). National animal protection
organizations can also provide information at: HSUS.org (Humane Society of the United
States), Fund.org, (Fund for Animals), farmsanctuary.org (Farm Sanctuary), ASPCA.org
(American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), ddal.org (Doris Day
Animal League), and AHA.org (American Humane Association).
What actions have you taken affecting the welfare of animals in the past? Please
include actions taken at the local, state, or federal levels.
In 1995, I lead a successful effort to halt taxpayer subsidies for the mink industry. I have
fought for and secured an increase in funding for existing animal protection laws,
including the Animal Welfare Act and the Humane Slaughter Act in recent years. I
spearheaded efforts to address the plight of seven captive polar bears, owned by the
Suarez Brothers Circus, which travels throughout Central America. I have cosponsored
almost every piece of animal protection legislation - including measures to combat
cockfighting, bear baiting, canned hunts, puppy mills, the bear parts trade, the exotic pet
trade, steel-jawed leghold traps, and the abuse of "downed" livestock.
There is an important bond between humans and animals. How should that bond
impact federal policy?
I think that federal policy is important to protect animals, both wild and domestic, such as
restricting the use of steel-jawed leghold traps and shutting down puppy mills.
Are there any programs or issues of importance to you that you would take the
initiative on after you are elected?
As President, I would continue my efforts to strengthen enforcement of the Animal
Welfare Act and the Humane Slaughter Act. The United States Department of
Agriculture is charged with enforcing the Acts; however, they simply do not have the
resources to adequately get the job done. I find it disturbing that there are only about 100
inspectors nationwide to enforce the Animal Welfare Act - - overseeing not only zoos and
circuses, but puppy mills, laboratories, and animals transported by commercial airlines.
More resources are desperately needed and under a Kerry Administration, dedicating the
necessary resources would be a priority.
Do you have any pets that have made an impact on you personally?
I have always had pets in my life and there are a few that I remember very fondly.
When I was serving on a swiftboat in Vietnam, my crewmates and I had a dog we called
VC. We all took care of him, and he stayed with us and loved riding on the swiftboat
deck. I think he provided all of us with a link to home and a few moments of peace and
tranquility during a dangerous time. One day as our swiftboat was heading up a river, a
mine exploded hard under our boat. After picking ourselves up, we discovered VC was
MIA. Several minutes of frantic search followed after which we thought we'd lost him.
We were relieved when another boat called asking if we were missing a dog. It turns out
VC was catapulted from the deck of our boat and landed confused, but unhurt, on the
deck of another boat in our patrol.
I also fondly remember a parakeet in college, Dodi Faustus. Dodi was a smart bird who
learned a few words of French and Italian, but not smart enough to avoid having to be
rescued from a tree once. My daughters and I had a Golden Retriever named Winston.
Today, Teresa and I have a German Shepherd named Cym and a yellow parakeet.
As president, would you take any of the following executive actions?
• Halt the use of cruel and indiscriminate steel-jawed leghold traps for commerce or
recreation on national wildlife refuges? _X_ yes ____ no
• Make enforcement of the federal law (Section 26 of the Animal Welfare Act)
against animal fighting a priority within the USDA? _X_ yes ___ no
• Provide adequate funding for enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, Horse
Protection Act, and Humane Slaughter Act? _X_ yes ___ no
• Establish a national Humane Farming Commission to examine animal welfare
issues in American agriculture? _X_ yes ____ no
• Take strong stands against commercial whaling at the International Whaling
Commission meeting, including a ban on Makah whaling? ___ yes _X_ no
NOTE: I have consistently opposed commercial whaling. At the same time the
U.S. commitment to Native Americans must be honored. I strongly prefer that
there be no lethal takes of whales occur, but I also support Native American treaty
rights. I will be following the current litigation regarding the Makah case closely.
• Support the long-standing U.S. position at the Convention on the International
Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) again the
international trade in ivory? _X_ yes ____ no
The following issues are being debated in Congress. We’d like to know your stance on
these important animal protection issues.
Puppy Mills. While millions of healthy and adoptable animals are euthanized for lack of
enough suitable homes, the commercial dog breeding industry continues to produce
millions of dogs in substandard environments, on operations commonly referred to as
"puppy mills," for the pet trade. Legislation in Congress would create a "3 strikes and
you're out" policy to shut down chronic violators of the Animal Welfare Act and to
establish new rules to stop overbreeding of dogs and the breeding of the animals before
they can safely breed.
WILL YOU SUPPORT ENACTMENT OF LEGISLATION TO ADDRESS
CHRONIC ANIMAL WELFARE PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH PUPPY
MILLS? _X_ yes ___ no
Animal fighting. Dogfighting and cockfighting are massive underground industries, with
millions of dogs and birds bred for fighting and placed in pits to fight to the death. While
the Congress banned any interstate transport or imports or exports of animals for fights,
penalties remain weak and insufficient to deter animal fighting enthusiasts.
WILL YOU SUPPORT ADOPTION OF FELONY-LEVEL PENALTIES FOR
VIOLATIONS OF THE FEDERAL ANIMAL FIGHTING LAW? _X_ yes ___ no
Laboratory Animals. Of all of the animals used in research, 95% of them are mice, rats,
and birds. Though they feel pain just as other warm-blooded animals do, these animals
are not covered by the humane care standards established under the Animal Welfare Act.
WILL YOU SUPPORT THE INCLUSION OF BIRDS, RATS, AND MICE IN
ANIMAL WELFARE ACT ENFORCEMENT? _X_ yes ___ no
Canned Hunts. During the last 25 years, a practice known as "canned hunting" has
become increasingly common. Proprietors of canned hunts offer trophy hunters the
opportunity the opportunity to shoot exotic mammals in fenced areas. Typically, the
hunts are guaranteed, and the hunter does not pay if he does not shoot the animals.
WILL YOU SUPPORT ENACTMENT OF LEGISLATION TO RESTRICT
CANNED HUNTS? _X_ yes ___ no
Exotic Animals. There are millions of animals – from Gambian rats to giant lizards –
that are caught in the wild for the purpose of selling them into the commercial pet trade.
Mortality rates are typically very high for animals subjected to traumatic capture,
transported long distances often in entirely deficient housing, and afforded inadequate
food and veterinary care throughout the process. Once here in the United States, these
exotic animals can pass on diseases to native wildlife and to people. Only domestic
animals, such as cats, dogs, and horses, make suitable pets.
WILL YOU SUPPORT ENACTMENT OF LEGISLATION TO HALT THE
TRADE IN WILD ANIMALS FOR THE PET TRADE? _X_ yes ___ no
Animal Damage Control. Wildlife Services (WS), a U.S. Department of Agriculture
program previously known as Animal Damage Control, spends more than $10 million
annually to kill predators as a de facto subsidy for ranchers and other resource users in
the West. WS hunters and trappers kill more than 100,000 coyotes, black bears, mountain
lions, and foxes each year with steel traps, poisons, and firearms. This program wastes
tax dollars and exacts an enormous toll on wildlife.
WILL YOU SUPPORT STIPULATING THAT NO TAXPAYER FUNDS BE USED
TO KILL WILDLIFE, OFTEN ON PUBLIC LANDS, FOR THE BENEFIT OF
PRIVATE RANCHERS? _X_ yes ___ no
Bear Baiting. Setting out food to lure bears to a site so that hunters can easily shoot the
animals while they are feeding is an unsporting and inhumane practice. And setting out
bait piles – consisting of jelly doughnuts, rotting fruits and vegetables, and animal
carcasses -- habituates bears to human food sources, causing the bears to lose their
wariness of people and to foster dangerous encounters between the animals and people.
WILL YOU SUPPORT LEGISLATION IN CONGRESS TO HALT ANY HUMAN
FEEDING OF BEARS ON FEDERAL LANDS? _X_ yes ___ no
Marine Mammals. The Marine Mammal Protection Act protects seals, whales, dolphins,
polar bears and other marine mammals from commercial or recreational exploitation.
WILL YOU OPPOSE EFFORTS TO AMEND THE MARINE MAMMAL
PROTECTION ACT TO ALLOW TROPHY HUNTING OF POLAR BEARS OR
LIBERALIZE THE RULES REGARDING THE TAKING OF OTHER MARINE
MAMMALS? _X_ yes ___ no
Forced Molting. The practice of starving egg-laying hens as a routine husbandry practice
in order to shock their systems into another egg laying cycle is called "forced molting."
This inhumane practice substantially increases the risk of salmonella infection in hens,
and this poses a risk for consumers who purchase salmonella-infected eggs. McDonald’s
and other fast-food giants no longer purchase eggs from producers who force-molt their
WILL YOU SUPPORT EFFORTS TO PROHIBIT FEDERAL FUNDS FROM
BEING USED IN THE NATIONAL SCHOOL BREAKFAST AND LUNCH
PROGRAMS FOR THE PURCHASE OF EGGS PRODUCED AT FACILITIES
THAT "FORCE MOLT?" _X_ yes ___ no
Antibiotic Overuse. Large commercial agribusiness operations administer massive
amounts of antibiotics at sub-therapeutic levels to farm animals so the animals can be
raised in large numbers and in close confinement. The administering of antibiotics in feed
and water when animals are not sick promotes the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria,
and over time is rendering antibiotics less effective in combating serious health problems
in people and animals.
DO YOU SUPPORT ENACTMENT OF LEGISLATION TO
CURB THE OVERUSE OF ANTIBIOTICS ON INDUSTRIAL FARMS? _X_ yes
Please return your completed questionnaire to: Humane USA, P.O. Box 19224,
Washington, D. C. 20036, or email@example.com