Republican candidates differ on animal welfare

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

By Karen Hall

Staff Writer

As Tennesseans prepare to vote in the Republican presidential primary on "Super Tuesday," many are studying the candidates' positions on issues like employment, taxes, healthcare, and foreign relations.

It's also worth considering where they stand on animal rights, as Dennis Foster, executive director of the Masters of Foxhounds Association, recently pointed out in an e-mail to members.

"Let me start by stating that the MFHA is not supporting any particular candidate," Foster wrote. "We do, however, believe we should keep you informed on those candidates that have Humane Society of the United States support and that support the animal rights agendas. This information comes right from HSUS's mouth and the candidates' voting records."

Foster goes on to say that HSUS supports President Obama, but they will back "any candidate that supports their hidden agendas."

Rick Santorum is supported by HSUS with money and endorsements. HSUS states he is the most active candidate in animal protection issues. Santorum has been a leader in introducing Pet Animal Welfare Statutes (PAWS), supposedly to eliminate so-called "Puppy Mills." In fact, according to Foster, such laws will have the effect of making it more expensive and difficult to own a dog, and almost impossible to maintain a kennel of hunting hounds.

Santorum was also one of those who voted to stop horse processing for food exports. The USA has thousands of horses let loose, neglected and suffering because nobody wants them and 140,000 horses each year are now going to Canada and Mexico for horse processing. This was brought to Tennessean's attention last month with the wreck of a trailer carrying 38 horses on I-40. Three horses were killed and traffic was at a standstill for hours. The surviving horses were picked up by another transporter and taken to Texas and sold to a Mexican meat-packing company, according to investigation by Nashville's WSMV-TV. Veterinarians refused permission for four injured horses to cross the border, and their fate remains unknown, according to the TV station.

"Santorum is HSUS's clear GOP choice," Foster concludes.

HSUS has little love and no support for Newt Gingrich, who supports hunting and zoos. They like Mitt Romney even less, according to Foster, and are trying to get animal lovers to vote against him for keeping his family dog in a dog box outside the family vehicle during a trip.

HSUS is not just about dogs, cats, and horses - everyone in animal agriculture needs to watch out. According to the Web site, when speaking to an animal rights conference in 2006, HSUS's then vice president for farm animal issues stated that HSUS's goal is to "get rid of the entire (animal agriculture) industry" and that "we don't want any of these animals to be raised and killed."