The Humane Society Legislative Fund works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal levels, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office.
They keep a scorecard of how legislators voted on different Animal Welfare bills, including if the legislator was the prime sponsor a bill, co-signed a bill, wrote to urge other lawmakers to vote for a bill, or worked against the bill.
In the Senate, this session there were bills and votes on the topics of
- Horse Soring (where people scar a horse’s feet so that they prance higher in competition),
- Pets and Domestic Violence (which was to help victims of domestic violence keep their pets with them at shelters),
- Animal Fighting (the bill would protect animals from cruelty),
- Horse Slaughter (to protect horses and consumers by prohibiting the transport and export of U.S. horses to slaughter for human consumption.),
- Shark fin trade (strengthen federal laws against finning and prohibit the trade in shark fins),
- The Checkoff Bill (” a vote for an amendment to the farm bill (S. 3042), based on the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act (S. 741/H.R. 1753), to correct abuses that have undermined the USDA’s agriculture checkoff programs and to prevent checkoff dollars from being misused to lobby against animal welfare reforms and family farmer interests.
Ted Cruz took a pro-animal position for the checkoff bill and didn’t support any of the other ones which gave him a score of 11. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Tammy Duckworth, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, and quite a few other Democrats scored 100. Only two Republicans scored more than 50, John Kennedy from Lousiana and Susan Collins from Maine, the latter of which also scored over a hundred.
In the House of Representatives, there were also many bills similar to the Senates’ on Horse soring, Pets and Domestic violence, Horse slaughter, Shark fin sales, Animal fighting, and also the Farm Bill. Additionally, the house voted on
- Animal cruelty ( to strengthen the 2010 federal “crush video” law, which banned the creation, sale and distribution of obscene videos that show live animals being intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled or subjected to other heinous abuse.)
- Animal testing for cosmetics (to phase out the testing of cosmetics on live animals and the sale of animal-tested cosmetics in the U.S.
- Puppy mills (to address significant deficiencies in USDA oversight of commercial dog breeding facilities)
- Interior appropriations (this bill included undermining the Endangered Species
Supplementarily, in the House, some representatives co-signed a group letter to the agriculture appropriations subcommittee to get money for the above bills. and for programs to address the needs of animals in disasters and to encourage veterinarians, through student loan repayment assistance, to locate in underserved areas.
There is also a Congressional Animal Protection Caucus which did not affect scoring but Beto O’Rourke is a member of.
Overall Beto scored a number of 91.
House members that scored over 90 include my Austin Repetitive Lloyd Doggett who earned a perfect 100, along with other Texas reps Al Green (Houston), Shelia Lee Jackson (Houston), and Marc Veasey (Ft. Worth).
The other Austin representatives, all Republican scored very low. Up for reelection on November 6-
Michael T. McCaul and Roger Williams scored 33
Bill Flores and John Carter scored an 8
By my count 132 Democrats and 11 Republicans scored over 90. I guess they don’t even call themselves compassionate conservatives anymore.
For more information and to see how your reps scored check out the full report card.
Democrats will probably score a lot higher than that so I recommend you vote for Mike Siegel, Rick Kennedy, Joseph Kopser, Julie Oliver, and M.J. Hegar depending on what district you live in. The non-partisan League of Women Voters has a great Voter Guide where you can look at where the individuals running stand on issues and make a ballot to take to the polls. Remember to print it out because you aren’t supposed to bring in anything digital.
Check the map for voting wait times here
In Travis County, you can vote anywhere in the county, even on election day.