We’ve just posted the preview version of the Humane Society Legislative Fund 2020 Humane Scorecard, and we hope you’ll take a look. It’s a snapshot of each federal legislator’s record on animal issues for the second session of the 116th Congress. We’re rolling out the preview now since early voting is already underway in a number of states.
Part of HSLF’s mission is to make it simple for voters to determine how federal lawmakers stand on crucial animal protection legislation. This year’s scorecard covers a cross section of priority issues, from humane cosmetics and horse racing to puppy mills, shark fin trade, and disaster response. The scorecard measures legislators’ interest in helping animals through various legislative means—bill cosponsorships, recorded votes, and co-signed letters seeking increased enforcement of animal welfare laws. We also give credit for leadership on animal issues.
As you’ll see, while many legislators have responded to our calls to cosponsor bills, a lot haven’t yet done so.
That’s where you come in—you play a critical role in keeping your legislators accountable on animal issues. We hope you will check your legislators’ current scores and contact them today. Please thank your U.S. representative and two U.S. Senators for their cosponsorship of any bill we’re counting and urge them to join quickly on the rest. If they aren’t on any of these bills yet, do your best to persuade them that it’s time to step up.
You can find their contact information here, or call the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Ask your friends and family to do the same.
The more members of Congress who publicly support a bill through cosponsorship—particularly when it's solidly bipartisan—the more apparent it is to congressional leaders that the bill deserves to be considered on the floor. Though the Congress is currently focused on big-ticket matters including the Supreme Court nomination, the federal budget, and COVID-19 relief, other measures with broad support from both sides of the aisle can and should be taken up and passed.
All the bills whose cosponsors we’re counting have strong bipartisan leadership and solid support. Several of them have already seen exciting progress and are poised for critical action in the remainder of the 116th Congress.
- The Horse Racing Integrity Act has 261 cosponsors in the House and 27 in the Senate, and is ready for a House floor vote following the Energy and Commerce Committee’s approval by 46-5 in early September.
- The PAST Act on horse soring was approved by a House vote of 333-96 in July 2019 with 308 cosponsors, and has 52 Senate cosponsors now.
- The shark fin sales bill passed the House by a vote of 310-107 in November 2019 with 288 cosponsors; it passed the Senate Commerce committee in April 2019 and has 47 Senate cosponsors.
- The big cats bill passed the House Natural Resources Committee by a vote of 21-14 in September 2019 and has 231 House and 26 Senate cosponsors.
- Appropriations provisions related to the PREPARED Act on disaster planning (currently with 214 cosponsors) and the SAFE Act on horse slaughter (currently with 232 cosponsors) were approved as part of the minibus 1 package of fiscal year 2021 funding bills that the House approved by a vote of 224-189 in July 2020.
- The puppy mill bill, which has 163 cosponsors, helped encourage the U.S. Department of Agriculture to finalize a rule in May 2020 with some of the needed reforms but the bill is crucial to address many remaining problems.
- The Humane Cosmetics Act, with 143 House and 15 Senate cosponsors, is consistent with laws recently passed in California, Nevada, and Illinois that prohibit the sale of newly animal-tested cosmetics, and has garnered strong industry support, with endorsements by more than 300 individual cosmetics companies and the Personal Care Products Council (which represents about 600 companies, including Procter & Gamble, Revlon, Unilever, and Estee Lauder).
We will update our preview version of the scorecard regularly this fall, and will publish the final 2020 scorecard after Congress adjourns at year’s end. So any legislators who want to secure a 100+ still have time to boost their scores. Let them know that you’re watching, and encourage them to cosponsor and support all of these common-sense measures to improve the lives of animals.