PAWS Magazine

Issue 44, Winter 2000

Legislative Scorecard

The Humane Society of the Unite States (HSUS) has released its annual scorecard on how federal legislators voted on key animal-related issues. Within the Washington state delegation, Congressman Jay Inslee (D, 1st District) and Senator Patty Murray fared the best, scoring a perfect 100 on the scorecards. Senator Slade Gorton fared the worst, scoring a 0 on his scorecard.

The scorecard was based upon animal-related votes held in the US Senate and US House. HSUS tracked four separate issues in the Senate.

The first of four issues in the Senate would have prohibited public funding of programs that use leghold traps and neck snares on national wildlife refuges but was defeated. The second issue before the Senate would have limited U.S. funding of the international tuna fishing convention, which allows the use of dolphin deadly nets, but it too was defeated. The third issue would close a loophole that allows birds to be shipped interstate for cockfighting purposes, despite the ban on cockfighting in 47 states. The fourth issue would prohibit interstate and international shipping of bear viscera in order to halt the poaching for Asian medicines, cosmetics and shampoos. Both of these issues are still pending.

Senator Patty Murray earned a 100% score, voting for animals on all four issues. Senator Slade Gorton has a 0% record, voting against animals on the first two issues and with nothing on record for the second two issues.

There were six bills in the House. The first bill would have halted funding for the "Wildlife Services" program that uses inhumane methods to kill coyotes, foxes, bears, badgers, and other animals however the bill was defeated. The second bill was the same leghold trap bill from the Senate and was defeated. The third bill was the dolphin bill that was also in front of the Senate and was defeated. The fourth bill will ban so called "Crush" videos, which depict animal cruelty and this bill was passed into law. The fifth bill is the cockfighting bill that is currently in front of the Senate and is pending an outcome. The sixth bill would prohibit the sale of "downed animals," meaning that animals that had been dragged or mistreated in stockyards and cannot be sold, thus creating a financial incentive to treat animals correctly, and that bill is also pending an outcome.

Representative Inslee earned a 100% score, Representatives Baird, Dicks, Metcalf, and Smith each earned an 83% score, Representative McDermott registered a 50% score, Representatives Dunn and Hastings earned a 33% score, and Representative Nethercutt brought up the rear with a 17% score.

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