by Kevin Allman
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., was named the Humane Senator of the Year for his leadership on securing needed funding to strengthen USDA enforcement of key animal welfare laws, as well as on bills to require licensing and inspections of puppy mills selling directly to the public via the Internet or other means (the PUPS Act, S. 707) and to prohibit interstate and foreign commerce in nonhuman primates for the pet trade (the Captive Primate Safety Act, S. 1324). Sen. Vitter helped get a bipartisan group of 34 Sens. to join in seeking funding for USDA to improve its oversight of puppy mills, laboratories, zoos, circuses and other regulated facilities; rein in the illegal “soring” of show horses (where trainers inflict severe pain on the animals’ legs and hooves to make it hurt them to step down, so they will exaggerate their high-stepping gait and win prizes); strengthen enforcement of the humane slaughter law; prevent illegal animal fighting; ease a shortage of veterinarians in rural areas and USDA positions through student loan repayment; and help address the needs of animals in disasters. Sen. Vitter also has been a champion over the years on legislation to require accurate labeling of fur apparel regardless of dollar value, to crack down on dogfighting and cockfighting, to ban the creation and distribution of obscene animal torture (“crush”) videos, and to strengthen the law against shark finning (cutting the fins off and throwing the rest of the living animals back in the water).
Vitter announced the news himself on his Twitter feed, noting "My fmly adopted rescue dog-Elle-in '09."
Last month, the Humane Society named Sen. Mary Landrieu its "Humane Horsewoman of the Year":
because of her tireless efforts to introduce and gain support for the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (S. 1176/H.R. 2966) in the U.S. Senate. We also recognized her successful efforts as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to help secure a 40 percent increase in funds for the enforcement of the Horse Protection Act to crack down on criminal soring of Tennessee walking horses in show competitions."