With the 2016 U.S. presidential election season officially kicking into high gear during the Republican and Democratic conventions, concerned animal lovers may be wondering where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump stand on animal rights issues. Here’s a quick rundown…
If you go to the issues section of Hillary Clinton’s official campaign website, you will see an entire section devoted to animal welfare with the heading: “Protecting animals and wildlife: The way our society treats animals is a reflection of our humanity.” Here, the campaign outlines Clinton’s position on issues related to the protection of wildlife, pets, and other domestic animals like farm animals and horses. Issues addressed include increased regulation of animal breeding (including puppy mills), combating wildlife trafficking, the humane treatment of farm animals, and cracking down on the practice of “horse soring” (damaging a horse’s legs to “improve” its gait).
The Clinton campaign website also summarizes animal welfare legislation she supported as a senator as well as in the State Department. The Humane Society Legislative Fund rated her performance in the 108th, 109th, and 110th sessions of Congress, where she earned scores of 100, 100+, and 83 respectively.
Because Donald Trump has no legislative history on animal welfare issues, animal advocates have had to research past actions and statements. The HSLF notes that he did ban the inhumane practice of horse diving on an Atlantic City property he owned called the Steel Pier. He is on record as saying in a tweet that he wouldn’t go to another Ringling Bros. circus because they are phasing out elephant acts, claiming that the circus is using “animal rights stuff” to cut costs.
Trump’s two sons are well-known trophy hunters and their exploits hunting big game animals are well-documented on the Internet. Trump is on record as supporting his sons’ interests in trophy hunting, although he himself chooses not to participate in hunting. As a side note, sharp-eyed convention watchers recently spotted someone who looked an awful lot like Cecil the Lion’s killer Walter Palmer sitting next to Trump’s sons in the VIP box at the RNC.
The official Trump campaign website makes no mention of animal welfare in either the “Positions” or “Issues” sections. The 2016 Republican Party platform contains a section called “America’s Natural Resources: Agriculture, Energy, and the Environment.” This section starts off by noting the party’s objective of protecting farmers, ranchers, fishermen, etc. and goes on to say that they support hunting and fishing rights on public lands…some of which should pass from federal to state control. This section also goes on to outline the party’s intention to remove certain animals from the Endangered Species List, including the gray wolf, the lesser prairie chicken, and the sage grouse.
For more animal-related campaign news, keep an eye on the HSLF blog, Animals & Politics.