Friday, August 12, 2022

We are in the midst of the August recess—a traditional break in the DC legislative calendar for members of Congress and their staff to work from their congressional districts or in state. The halls of Congress are much quieter, with elected officials in their home districts and many legislative aides juggling their vacations with constituent work. Residents of Washington, D.C. even notice the lighter traffic and smaller crowds across the city.  

In this election year, many members of Congress will spend part of their time at home on the campaign trail—with parades, festivals, and other community events filling their calendars. They will be looking for opportunities to connect with constituents and ask for their votes in the upcoming election. And that gives animal advocates their own opportunities, to seek out and encourage these candidates to take meaningful action on issues of importance to the animal welfare cause. We hope that you will find ways to engage elected officials and other candidates at public events and, where possible, at their district offices. Do your best to learn about their voting records and in the case of the U.S. Congress, let them know that HSLF tracks some of these votes as part of the Humane Scorecard

Every year HSLF endorses a slate of candidates we believe to be the best choice for voters committed to federal policies to protect animals. To earn this endorsement, candidates must respond to our candidate questionnaire or have strong voting records, and present a viable path to victory. The endorsement process is our chance to encourage candidates, old and new, to focus on animal welfare issues. In addition, it gives us a chance to hold elected officials accountable for their past voting records in relation to animal protection.  

Our endorsements do not come easy and must be earned by each candidate, every election, on the basis of dedicated support and action on our issues. HSLF’s team works diligently to ensure each endorsement is based on a strong animal welfare commitment—without regard for party affiliation or any other factor.  

As advocates, you can leverage this chance to advance animal protection priorities. Candidates seeking your vote are frequently all ears when you ask about their positions on animal protection measures. As active voters, you will likely have candidates knocking on your front door, approaching you in public, and inviting you to campaign events. These are not times to shy away, but rather important opportunities to remind candidates that voters care about animal protection—and they should, too. 

If a candidate asks for your vote, ask them what they have done to protect animals. If a candidate asks what causes are important to you, tell them. Educate yourself and get hold of literature and fact sheets that make the case for any laws pending in the U.S. Congress, or state legislatures. Finally, put these materials into their hands or into the hands of their aides. 

HSLF works to give animals a voice in the policy-making process—ensuring that humane minded individuals are elected to every level of public office is at the heart of that effort. To accomplish this we rely on you, as an advocate and as a voter, to support humane candidates for office, to help hold candidates accountable for advancing humane issues, and to take every conceivable step to make sure that your voice is heard in our democracy. This is the very foundation of our work to help animals. And we want you to know that we are grateful for your heightened political engagement, which is crucial to the passage and adoption of our legislative and regulatory agenda. 

P.S. Be sure to update your voter registration, find your polling place, and cast your vote in the upcoming election.