Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton made headlines recently when she became the first presidential candidate to add animal welfare issues to her official campaign website.
Of course, when I read this news, I feared the worst, but you can read her bullet points below and let me know what you think:
- “As president, Hillary will protect wildlife in the United States by keeping public lands public, not auctioning them off to the highest bidder; and making more resources available to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners who are taking steps to conserve our wildlife, lands, and waters.
- “She will protect farm animals from inhumane treatment by encouraging farms to raise animals humanely, and working to eliminate the use of antibiotics in farm animals for non-therapeutic reasons.
- “She will protect horses by ending the slaughter of horses for human consumption; and cracking down on the practice of horse soring, where chemicals or other inhumane methods are applied to horses’ limbs to exaggerate their gait.”
Her website also boasts a perfect score from the Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) Legislative Fund. Both Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders rank highly for their records on animal issues.
According to Karin Brulliard for the Washington Post, “Animal welfare remains an issue more heartily embraced by Democrats, however, who tend to be less tight with farming and gun-rights groups that are often at odds with animal- and wildlife-protection organizations.”
What’s more, Brulliard writes, “As a senator for eight years, Clinton twice earned 100% ratings on the organization’s ‘Humane Scorecard,’ which rates members of Congress based on their voting records on animal protection legislation; other years she was in the 70s and 80s. The organization praised her for co-sponsoring bills to crack down on puppy mills, speaking out against slaughtering sick cows for use in school lunches and, as secretary of state, for launching a campaign against the illegal ivory trade.”
Meanwhile, Republican candidate Donald Trump obviously doesn’t have a voting record to grade, and the very little I’ve heard him speak on agriculture so far this campaign season doesn’t necessarily give me confidence that he knows and understands animal agriculture.
Brulliard writes, “In 1993, Trump held a news conference to announce the end of a horse high-diving performance at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, which the Trump Taj Mahal casino and hotel owned. Animal welfare groups had strongly criticized the act, and Trump said ‘he disliked it from the start,’ according to the Press of Atlantic City.
“He has defended his sons’ trophy hunts in Africa, though he has also said he’s ‘not a believer in hunting.’ But in a more recent interview with Outdoor Life, he referred to having introduced people to hunting and wanting to bring ‘the next generation of hunters into the game.’
As we try to decipher where these candidates really stand on animal agriculture based on the limited information we have from the campaign trail so far, there are some resources available that may help you reach a decision for whom to support.
- DVM360.com lists where the presidential hopefuls stand on veterinary issues. Read the report here.
- Read Trump’s positions on farm, food and rural policy from AgriPulse by clicking here.
- Check out Clinton’s remarks on agriculture from a speech she gave in Iowa earlier this year.
- AgriPulse also rounds up Sanders' views on farm and rural issues, which you can read here.
Of course, this isn’t a complete list of what ranchers are worried about as the 2016 election approaches. There’s immigration, health care, foreign policy and who you would prefer to appoint the next Supreme Court justice, among many other issues.
Admittedly, I’m not at the point where I can wholeheartedly stand behind a single candidate, and fortunately, there’s plenty of time between now and November for me to make up my mind; however, I would love to hear who your favorite is in the race to the White House. Let me know in the comments section below.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.
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