There are a couple of fundamental premises that guide HSLF’s political advocacy for animals. Every year is an election year—and every election is an opportunity to improve the lives of animals. This year was no exception.
Thankfully, more and more animal advocates have joined our ranks—and as a result, an increasing number of candidates for public office are focused on ways to earn their votes. Whether we look at the U.S. Congress or at our state capitols, the influence of animal protection continues to grow in American politics.
Only a small set of states held elections for their legislatures in 2023, but in two that did, we were highly active; HSLF supported a number of candidates in Virginia and New Jersey.
We also supported and endorsed candidates for local offices across the country, where such victories have often helped to lay the foundation for broad, sweeping change for animals.
Across the board, we’re seeing the fruits of our labor. For example, several candidates we helped elect to the Virginia legislature, who have been strong allies of our cause, have now declared their intention to run for the U.S. Congress next year. This is how it’s supposed to work, and this is why we work to elect humane candidates up and down the ballot. As the relationships we build throughout the political ecosystem multiply, and our allies advance to higher offices, their commitment to animal protection goes with them, and our ability to secure still greater success in our legislative and regulatory agendas expands.
Our dedication to protecting animals’ interests extends to the realm of ballot measures, too. In recent years we’ve helped to secure some dramatic victories as Floridians passed Amendment 13, which prohibits the racing of and wagering on races with greyhounds, and Californians passed Proposition 12, which bans the in-state sale of pork, eggs, and veal produced via extreme confinement. And in mid-2023, we joined advocates across the country in celebration when Ohioans showed up at the polls to defend the ballot measure process in their state by preserving a reasonable threshold percentage for passage—ensuring that voters, including those who care about animals, can continue to make their voices heard in our democracy.
Obviously, 2024 will be an incredibly consequential election year for animals. Offices from the presidency to city council will be on your ballot—and animals will be, too. And this leads to two more basic premises of our work. Animals only win when humane candidates do—and humane candidates only win when animal advocates vote. While you’re spending time with friends and family this holiday season—remind them to be vote ready in 2024—by updating their voter registration, researching candidates, and committing to vote on Election Day. Please join us in mobilizing in support of humane candidates across the country, and help us ring in a new, promising year.