For a number of years now, with the primary goal of advancing federal animal protection legislation, the Humane Society Legislative Fund has published the Humane Scorecard to track the relevant votes, co-sponsorships, and other actions of federal lawmakers. It’s popular with our supporters, and it’s become increasingly influential with legislators who know the value of a higher score.
Given the success of the scorecard, and with so much at stake for animals in state capitols, we’ve now started tracking key animal protection votes by state legislators.
Our 2021 Illinois Humane Scorecard is now online, and we invite you to check out how your state legislators stood on a range of animal issues. Please share this scorecard with family, friends, and fellow advocates and help spread the word!
Accountability is critical to our work. We are accountable to our supporters as well as to the animals we seek to defend, and we never forget who we’re working for. This means that we also work continuously to hold elected officials accountable for their track records and their commitment wherever the interests of animals are concerned.
The items scored in the 2021 Illinois Humane Scorecard include:
Humane Pet Store Act: A ✓ indicates a vote in favor of HB 1711, the Humane Pet Store Act. What most consumers don’t know is that the vast majority of pet store puppies come from puppy mills—high-volume dog breeding facilities that treat mother dogs like breeding machines and puppies like mere products. HB 1711 will crack down on these cruel operations by prohibiting the sale of commercially-raised dogs and cats in pet stores, driving the pet market towards shelters, rescues, and responsible breeders.
Predatory Pet Sales Loans: A ✓ indicates a vote in favor of HB 572, to amend the Sales Finance Agency Act. Another way puppy mill sales outlets abuse unsuspecting consumers is by offering financing through third party lenders with promises of low interest rates. This allows pet dealers to sell puppies for thousands of dollars, even to those who cannot afford them outright, but often leaves customers with shockingly high interest rates—up to 200%—and hidden fees. HB 572 will now put an end to this by prohibiting the financing of a dog or cat.
Mandatory Forfeiture: A ✓ indicates a vote in favor of HB 168, to amend the Humane Care for Animals Act. Persons formerly convicted of animal abuse pose a clear future risk to any animals in their care. Anyone who has committed an act of dogfighting, aggravated cruelty, or animal abuse has proven that they are a danger to animals—and if they’ve been convicted of at least 2 of those offenses, HB 168 will mandate the forfeiture of all animals in their dwelling.
Wildlife Trafficking: A ✓ indicates a vote in favor of HB 395, to amend the Ivory Ban Act. This law expands protections for an increased number of imperiled species from the illegal wildlife trade, by restricting the sale of parts or products from giraffes, tigers, lions, great apes, sharks, sea turtles, pangolins, and more in the state of Illinois.
HSLF acknowledges the limitations of judging legislators based on a few votes and co-sponsorships on animal issues, however important those issues may be. In some cases, legislators must miss votes for unavoidable reasons, such as a death in the family, serious illness, birth of a child or emergency in their district. In assessing the record of your state-level representatives, and your strategy for engaging them in the future, do consider unrecorded matters such as committee participation and performance, House or Senate leadership posts, constituent service and responsiveness, and co-sponsorship of other animal protection bills not included in this scorecard.
This scorecard is a tool for moving the animal protection agenda forward in your state, and it only possible by the continued advocacy and support of members like you. Together, we can build on our victories and make even greater progress for the animals in 2022. We look forward to working with you.