By Brad Pyle
Our supporters are accustomed to hearing from us at HSLF about federal legislation, policy, and elections, but our work—and our impact for animals—extends far beyond Washington, D.C. We keep a close watch on critical local and state legislation and on politics that may have an impact on animals. And every year, HSLF’s team then meets with candidates seeking election to state and local offices, and in many instances HSLF issues endorsements and campaigns on their behalf.
This approach continues to produce strong benefits for animals. Just weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the most consequential law ever passed in relation to the treatment of farm animals, California’s Proposition 12. Among the many supportive arguments submitted to the Court in support of Proposition 12 was a multistate amicus brief, urging the Court to protect the ability of states to regulate industries, such as animal agriculture, within their borders.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel was one of the leaders of this effort. In 2018, recognizing her demonstrated sympathy with humane concerns, HSLF was one of the champions of her candidacy—urging voters in Michigan to elect her to the office, along with a slate of other animal-friendly candidates. This year, Nessel is up for re-election—and once again your HSLF is urging animal advocates to show up at the polls and cast their ballot for her and other humane candidates across the country.
HSLF has endorsed hundreds of state legislators standing for election this year. State lawmakers play a critical role in advancing humane laws in their respective jurisdictions. Our successes at the federal level are often the result of a critical mass of states passing similar laws within their borders, thus increasing pressure on the federal government to act. Lawmakers like State Senator Jason Lewis (D-Mass.), who played a key role in advancing farm animal protection legislation in his state, are important allies in our mission. That’s why we’ve been rapidly expanding our work to support humane candidates in state legislatures across the country.
Municipal candidates also play a vital role in advancing humane ordinances in their communities. For example, over 400 municipalities have passed humane pet store ordinances, across 33 different states. Be sure to research the local candidates on your ballot—and be sure to vote for humane candidates running for city council, township trustee, and other local offices in your community.
Every elected office and every election matters to the humane movement. Protecting animals through humane policies begins by electing humane candidates to office at every level of government. Be sure to check out our list of endorsed candidates, find your polling place, and vote in this election. It’s one of the most important contributions you can make to the effort to help animals.
Brad Pyle is political director of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.