Monday, March 29, 2010

Bert presente!/The Obama Administration's Animal Protection Record

Dear friends,


Some of you met Bert, Baltimore’s protest dog, who died on March 27, 2003.  To say the least I miss my buddy.  Last week, someone asked me about Bert.  His memory lives on.  Kagiso, Max

Animal Rights

The Obama Administration's Animal Protection Record

What has the Obama Administration Done For, and Against, Animals?

By Doris Lin, Guide

Barack Obama

Barack Obama poses for Jana Kohl's book on puppy mills, "A Rare Breed of Love."

Robert Sebree

Jan 23 2010

Expectations were high during President Barack Obama’s election campaign, and for good reason. Obama and VP Joe Biden both had great records on animal protection issues1 heading into the election, and won the endorsement of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. Also before the election, Obama participated in Jana Kohl's book against puppy mills, "A Rare Breed of Love2," and promised to adopt a rescue dog. One pre-election disappointment was Obama's statement that a hunter should head the Department of the Interior3. Despite pleas from animal advocates4, Obama appointed a hunter5, Senator Ken Salazar, as Secretary of the Interior. However, Obama also appointed animal-friendly Tom Vilsack6 as Secretary of Agriculture.

Fast forward to 2009, and Obama's actions since taking office have been a mixed bag:

·                        January, 2009: Obama Suspends Delisting of Grey Wolves7
On his first day in office, Obama put a freeze on a number of federal regulations adopted by the Bush administration in its final days, including the delisting of grey wolves under the Endangered Species Act. This gave the wolves a temporary reprieve, and gave animal advocates hope.

·                        March, 2009: Grey Wolves in Northern Rockies Delisted8
Just weeks after giving hope to animal advocates, the Obama administration delisted wolves under the Endangered Species Act. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, a hunter and rancher himself, cleared the way for individual states to begin killing wolves in order to protect animal agribusiness interests.

·                        March, 2009: Slaughter of Downed Cows Banned in the US9
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack banned the slaughter of "downer" cows - cows who are too sick, weak or injured to stand on their own. The decision was applauded by animal advocates across the country.

·                        April, 2009: Obama Breaks Promise to Rescue a Dog10
This was the most disappointing move, probably because it was so unexpected. By getting a dog from a breeder, Obama broke his promise to animal advocates and reinforced the misconception that people cannot get their dog of choice from a shelter or rescue group. The Obama's decision will lead to puppy mills churning out Portuguese water dogs, and one breeder of PWDs described the sudden demand for the breed as "general mayhem."

·                        April, 2009: Scientific Requirements of Endangered Species Act Restored11
Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced a revocation of the Bush administration's weakening of the Endangered Species Act. With this move, the Obama administration brought back the ESA's longstanding scientific requirements and fulfilled Obama's promise to reverse the Bush administration's change.

·                        May, 2009: Polar Bears Won't be Protected from Global Warming12 Ken Salazar, Obama's Secretary of the Interior, failed to overturn a Bush-era rule that weakens the Endangered Species Act and jeopardizes the survival of polar bears.

·                        June, 2009: Michelle Obama is Fur-Free13 More of a personal stance than a political one, but like the decision to accept a dog from a breeder, the first couple's actions are highly influential.

·                        June, 2009: Obama to Nominate Sam D. Hamilton, a Hunter, as Head of USFWS14 Obama announces his intention to place an avid hunter in charge of our nation's National Wildlife Refuges.

·                        June, 2009: Obama Swats, Kills Fly15 Obama swats and kills a fly on camera, during an interview with CNBC.

·                        July, 2009: Animal Protection Views Hold Up Nomination of Cass Sunstein16 Although the nomination has been stalled, Obama deserves credit for appointing an animal advocate in his administration.

·                        November, 2009: Critical Habitat for Polar Bears Proposed17 The Obama administration proposes the designation of over 200,000 square miles of Alaskan land, water and ice as critical polar bear habitat. While the designation would be a good first step, the proposal still allows oil and gas drilling and does nothing to address climate change.

·                        November, 2009: BLM Removes Thousands of Wild Horses to Make Room for Millions of Cattle18 The Obama administration continues a long-standing policy of removing wild horses while allowing cattle to graze on public lands.

·                        November, 2009: Obama Pardons Turkey19 Obama continues a 20-year tradition of "pardoning" a turkey for Thanksgiving, but adds his own comments.

·                        January, 2010: Obama Administration Accelerates Wild Horse Round-Ups20 Under the Obama Administration, 12,000 horses will be captured in FY 2010.

Questions or comments? Discuss in the Forum21

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Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


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