PAWS Magazine


Issue 47, Fall 2000


Election will offer clear choices for animal lovers

The Election of 2000 presents some clear choices for animal lovers.

In just about every race on this year’s ballot, the differences between candidates are distinct. And the outcome of every race will have a tangible impact on animals.

From the presidential race, to US Senate and Congressional races to statewide and legislative races, YOUR vote can make a difference for the animals.

The race for the US Presidency offers drastically different options. Texas Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore differ significantly on their approach to air quality, water quality, wild forests, global warming – all of which are key to preserving habitat for all creatures. Green Party candidate Ralph Nader calls for an end to all logging in national forests. To illustrate the choice each voter faces, take, for example, the very specific issue of protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The leading presidential candidates have stated their intentions clearly – Bush advocates oil drilling in the refuge, Gore supports full wilderness protection for the refuge.

Imagine the dramatic impact that drilling would have on the homes of polar bears, Arctic fox, Northern fur seals, caribou, elk, and eagles.

The contest for who will represent Washington State in the US Senate is another race that will have a huge effect on animals. Senator Slade Gorton and former member of congress Maria Cantwell have dramatically different values and goals. The winner of that race will be a leader in efforts for salmon recovery in the Pacific Northwest—influencing make or break decisions that will determine survival or extinction for many endangered and threatened species.

In Washington State, the choice about who will be Lands Commissioner couldn’t be more distinctive. Former Governor Mike Lowry and Pierce County Executive Doug Sutherland, who are vying for the post, differ widely about the number of "board feet" which would be "harvested" from the 2.1 million acres of forest managed by the State’s Department of Natural Resources. Preserving habitat for Washington’s wildlife is critical for survival of cougar, lynx, bear and other beloved creatures that live on our state lands.

In state legislature races across Washington, candidates who will represent voters in Olympia can have a huge impact on several efforts that would protect animals. PAWS will again be supporting efforts in our state capitol to ban private ownership of exotic animals such as primates and big cats, to end cruel hunting practices, and to institute protection for farm animals.

"The votes of PAWS members can help make the legislature’s composition compassionate," said Kathy Kelly, PAWS Executive Director.

In Washington State, recent elections have been so close that the number of registered voters who did not get out on election day were greater in number than the difference between the winners and losers in key races. In the 1988 race for US Senate, for example, the difference was about 25,000 votes. "That’s less than the number of Washingtonians who receive PAWS News!" noted Kelly.

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