From the animal protection policy perspective, Joe Biden has made a very strong pick for his running mate in the 2020 presidential election. Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has an outstanding record of supporting animal protection, and her selection bodes well for our own efforts to secure a strong animal welfare platform from candidates for office at all levels. Among other things, she’s achieved a score of “100” every year on the Humane Scorecard since being elected to the U.S. Senate. Moreover, as California’s Attorney General, she took the right side on many animal welfare issues of great importance.
In the current congress, Harris is a cosponsor of legislation to crack down on horse soring abuses, prohibit the trade of shark fins, reduce wildlife trafficking, and address widespread doping of racehorses. She also supported the PACT Act to create a felony penalty for malicious animal cruelty, which was signed into law by President Trump.
Harris has also gained praise for introducing the Help Extract Animals from Red Tape (HEART) Act along with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), which will expedite the disposition of abused animals who have been rescued and seized from persons involved in unlawful animal fighting or gambling. The bill reduces the length of time animals are held in shelters and shifts the burden of cost of care for animals seized under federal animal fighting and gambling statutes from American taxpayers and shelters to the individual responsible for the harm to the animal.
As California’s Attorney General, Kamala Harris defended a series of pioneering animal protection laws approved in the state. She continuously defended California’s ban on foie gras sales after producers launched a series of challenges in the courts. She also took the right side—and the winning side—of multiple separate challenges to Prop 2 and AB 1437, California’s improved farm animal welfare laws. Finally, drawing on the legal work of the HSUS Animal Protection Law division, she successfully overcame a challenge to California’s ban on the possession and sale of shark fins, which has made a great difference in campaigns to end the brutal practice of shark finning.
Harris’ selection as Joe Biden’s running mate coincides with our own campaign season efforts to put animal welfare on the ballot, by pressing candidates for office on their commitments to animal protection, supporting and endorsing those who stand strong for animals, and holding accountable those who do not. The presence of a strong animal welfare advocate in the second slot on the Democratic ticket strengthens the prospects for raising the visibility of humane issues as the November election approaches.
In this and every year, we ask our supporters to make their votes count for animals.
And we promise you this: you'll hear more from the Humane Society Legislative Fund about the presidential race and other races at the federal and state level in the run up to Election Day 2020. Keep checking the blog for updates and more information.