As an pet lover, it's likely that animal welfare issues are important to you. If you're truly passionate about animals, these issues may also effect how you vote on Election Day. So you may be wondering: Where do the current presidential candidates stand in regard to animal welfare?
This question is easier to answer for some candidates than others. Those who have held public office have voting records we can look through, and some candidates have even made their stance on animal welfare public. A great tool is the Humane Society Legislative Fund's Humane Scorecard, which rates every Senator and Representative's voting record for each session of Congress. We've used the scorecard, public records, and the candidate's own statements to put together this quick guide to where the current candidates stand on animal issues.
Senator Ted Cruz also earned as 12/100 during the the most recent full session of Congress. In 2014, though, he voted against a bill that would have allowed hunting in National Parks, but had a dismal score of zero in previous years.
Cruz to protesters: "I understand you're very concerned about animals. Animals are wonderful. I also happen to care about human beings."— Patrick Svitek (@PatrickSvitek) March 14, 2016
Senator Bernie Sanders earned a perfect 100% rating from the HSLF Scorecard during the 2014-2015 session. Sanders has also made his policies on animal welfare public, something no other candidate has done.
Bernie cosponsored the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act, to make breeders and pet stores provide puppies with good environments
When Secretary Hillary Clinton was a Senator, her record was consistently rated highlight in the Scorecard, even earning a 100% rating in 2002-2003 term. Clinton's answers to the extensive HSLF questionnaire from the 2008 election is also still available online as well.
Our policies should reflect the important role that animals play in our lives and our environment. I believe we should treat animals humanely and that is why I support anti-cruelty laws.
- Hillary Clinton, 2007
Governor John Kasich's record in Ohio is arguably the best of any of the GOP candidates. He signed a tough anti-puppy mill law while in office, a bill protecting pets in domestic violence situations, a bill that ended breed discrimination against pitbulls.
In 2012 Governor Kasich signed a law to remove the American Pit Bull Terrier and other “Bully breeds” from the list of automatically “vicious” dogs in Ohio.
Donald Trump has never held public office, so his stance on animal welfare issues is difficult to determine. Trump's sons are well-known trophy hunters, though Trump himself has said that he "is not a believer in hunting." When Ringling Brothers circus announced that they would no longer include elephant acts in their performances, he tweeted that he would never go again and mocked, “They probably used the animal rights stuff to reduce costs.”
And how would have Rubio scored if he had stayed in the race?
Senator Marco Rubio only scored 12 out of 100 in the HSLF Scorecard for the 2014 session of Congress. The Senator did, however, co-sponsor a bipartisan bill to outlaw horse soring, a technique in which pain is deliberately inflicted to horses' legs and hooves to exaggerate a "high stepping" gait.
For more, check out this helpful post from Treehouse Humane Society, which talks about some of the specific bills candidates have sponsored or signed.