To those animal activists who have not yet voted, or have not yet decided for whom to vote, this article is for you. Marcia Mueller, a frequent contributor, raises enough questions about Hillary Clinton’s sincerity and veracity as to give any animal activist pause who is considering voting for her.
By Marcia Mueller
Activists who believe Hillary’s website promises to help animals don’t seem to know that much about animal rights or Hillary Clinton.
On her campaign website, Hillary promises to promote animal welfare, and the list includes protecting wildlife in the U.S., combating international wildlife trafficking, protecting pets, protecting farm animals, and protecting horses.
In the interests of space, just looking at the last two “protections” raises questions.
Hillary will help horses by “cracking down” on the practice of horse soring. This is an abuse of Tennessee walking horses which involves burning their legs or hooves with caustic agents, such as mustard oil, so the resulting pain will promote the exaggerated gait the trainers and owners want.
This was the first big cause I heard about and worked on, writing letter after letter to Congress, making follow-up calls, and getting petitions signed. In 1970 the Horse Protection Act was passed, and that looked like a big victory. Wrong! It is now 2016—46 years later—and there is another bill waiting in Congress. It is called the PAST Act (Prevent All Soring Tactics). Thus in the intervening years since the Horse Protect Act, horses have continued to be tortured. The PAST Act has several competing bills which are weaker and will not completely curtail the abuses. And so far both bills are awaiting further action. In the meantime, Hillary promises to “crack down.”
Hillary also promises to help farm animals “by encouraging farms to raise animals humanely.”
Currently there are no federal laws governing conditions in which farm animals are raised and how they must be treated. Most farm animals are excluded from all the anti-cruelty laws which cover other domestic animals. And the “standard agricultural practices” which are tolerated are inherently cruel, such as castrations, dehorning, and tail docking without anesthesia. There are no laws requiring sick or injured animals to receive veterinary care. Pigs can be kept in crates too small for them to roll over, and veal calves are also confined in tiny spaces and refused proper nutrition so that they will be anemic and their meat will be pale. Chickens have the tips of their beaks burned off without any pain relief. The birds raised for food have been deliberately bred to grow too big and too fast and are thus subject to cardiopulmonary problems (difficulty breathing and heart attacks). As for “euthanasia,” that may consist of throwing sick and injured baby pigs onto concrete floors until they’re mortally injured, throwing animals on a “dead pile” to die, or, in the case of baby male chicks, allowing them to suffocate in plastic garbage bags or tossing the still living birds in macerators.
The name of the game for Big Ag is to increase the bottom line by squeezing the most out of the animals by any means necessary to get the biggest number to market in the fastest manner for the most money. The suffering undergone by the animals is not considered.
Mercy For Animals, Compassion Over Killing, and PETA have done multiple undercover investigations of pig farms, dairy farms, and poultry/egg farms. They have documented every horror listed above, including restrained cows being hit in the face and body by crowbars or poked with pitchforks, sick and injured (downed) cows repeatedly kicked in the face and body to make them get up, pigs with pus-filled pressure sores and no care, and baby pigs with ruptured intestines from botched castrations. Sick chickens are seen crammed into tiny cages with injured beaks and sores covering bare skins. Dead and dying birds are shown littering the floor beneath the stacks of cages.
So Hillary is going to help those doomed beings by “encouraging” the likes of Big Ag to treat them humanely. Really? Will President Clinton’s encouragement make pig farmers abandon gestation crates and shame dairy farmers into treating their cows better? Will egg and chicken producers throw out the battery cages and advertise their happy free-range birds? Will enough encouragement prompt producers to find forever loving homes for their baby chicks instead of grinding them up?
The only way to stop the tortured lives of farm animals is the passage of comprehensive laws with the intent of strict enforcement and swift and severe punishment for abusers. To do that would require taking on one of the country’s biggest, wealthiest, and most powerful corporate entities—Big Ag—with its army of lobbyists and virtually bottomless ability to fund (or not fund) campaigns. That does not sound like a political battle Hillary Clinton would be interested in. It does not sound like something Big Ag’s minions in Congress would support. They care about their bottom lines too.
So Hillary Clinton’s pledge to help animals by “cracking down” on bad behavior and “encouraging” the greedy and abusive to reform is difficult to take seriously.
As for Hillary’s lost opportunities while Secretary of State, such as calling international attention to bullfighting, whaling, trophy hunting, etc., it is hard to know what might have happened if she had spoken out.
Others have not been as reticent to be heard, but there were consequences. For example, in 2014 Caroline Kennedy, who had recently been appointed ambassador to Japan, noted on Twitter that she thought the Cove dolphin killing was cruel and inhumane. That evoked a swift and negative response from Japan. The Japanese were astonished that anyone would criticize its cultural traditions and called the tweet improper. They also called America hypocritical for wanting to save dolphins while killing millions of cows, pigs, and chickens. Lawmaker Masayhiso Sato suggested that Ambassador Kennedy was acting inappropriately in her official role by criticizing his country.
Robert Dujarrie, the director of the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies at Temple University of Japan said Kennedy’s tweet could cause problems between the U.S. and Japan. According to Dujarrie, “There are far more important questions between the U.S. and Japan. The key to dolphin business is getting Japan to oppose it. But will this help? Or on the contrary, will it start a nationalistic reaction against meddling by a [foreign] country.”
The question is, How much would Hillary be willing to risk if speaking up for animals meant upsetting diplomatic relations or even causing a backlash that might lead to withheld favors or funds? What would she be willing to risk for animals who will give her nothing in return?
These are questions Clinton supporters need to ask themselves. They may find multiple reasons to vote for her. But her professed concern for animals and promise to help them should not be one of them.
We have published several articles on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in regard to animal issues.
Several that are germane to this discussion are:
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