Why People Who Love Animals Must Vote

It’s election day in the United States. Our local polls just opened a few minutes ago.

Even if I weren’t a political junkie who pays close attention to current events, I’d still have to vote.

Because I have a furry critter lying on my floor. And I love her.

And all people who love animals must vote.

Honey the golden retriever wants you to vote.

Apathy Kills Animals

I don’t usually make such drastic statements. But it’s true. And it’s time we faced it.

The news has exploded with stories about expecting Republicans to take a majority in the Senate. In truth, that’s not the important story.

Congress passed 185 bills. Yep, the 113th Congressional session will be the least productive ever. And they’re not going to do much in the next two years either.

But you know who has been busy passing legislation that affects you and other animals? State legislatures.

And it’s state legislatures that could put an end to

  • puppy mills
  • internet animal sales
  • canned pigeon shoots
  • animal activists being charged with felonies for recording abuse on farms
  • and other egregious practices.

Are you starting to see how voting today could make a big difference? (For a clear, humorous, and NSFW discussion of how state legislatures are affecting us, check out John Oliver’s take.)

Honey the Golden Retriever and Scooter the foster puppy play bitey face on the couch.

Madam Speaker – I submit that the junior senator is not allowed to play bitey face in the middle of a vote.

Change Is Hard Work

Unfortunately, it’s hard to promote change if you’re unhappy with your elected officials because districts are rigged to make it easy for incumbents to get reelected.

And that’s why we have to dig deeper. We have to understand some of the boring, procedural things that make a difference.

For example, the New York state ballot has a proposition dealing with redistricting reform. If it passes, it would establish an “independent” commission to propose districts for upcoming elections.

Where would this “independent” commission come from? Well, the current legislative leaders would pick eight members. Their appointees would pick the remaining two. And if their proposal was rejected two times by the legislature, the legislators would draft their own redistricting plan.

Yeah, sounds real independent to me. And Honey is a mastiff.

I’ll be voting no on that proposal. And pushing for something more independent. Because democracy needs to have competitive races.

It’s geeky. It’s political. But it’s the kind of procedural issue that could, in the future, have a big impact on animals, human and otherwise.

Elect Turbo the Malamute.

We haven’t had much luck with Democrats and Republicans. Maybe it’s time to vote Malamute.

Vote Today

Hopefully you’re at least registered to vote. If not, it’s too late for today. But start the process at the U.S. Board of Elections for the next elections.

If you are registered and need to find out the location of your polling place or what’s on the ballot, click your state on the interactive map to find your local election board. The League of Women Voters also has side by side comparisons of candidates if you have not yet made up your mind.

And if you’re lucky enough to live in a state that allows early voting and you’ve already voted, thank you.

Who knows. Maybe future news stories will talk about the voting bloc of animal lovers. Who throw their support behind lawmakers promoting policies that benefit all animals.

A dog encourages votes for SNP.

With such a handsome spokesdog, how has the Scottish National Party not taken over the world?

Apologies to S’waggers from outside the U.S. But if you have words of wisdom from a democracy that’s less insane, please share. We could use all the help we could get.


photo credit: (Turbo) JSF539 via photopin cc. (Vote SNP) Myrrien via photopin cc. Click on the images to learn more about the photographers.

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  1. I hope this will encourage some fellow animal lovers to hit the polls today. We really do have the potential to change the world for our furry friends.

  2. I voted. But I thInk voting is just the beginning. Write letters (be clear, concise and respectful), attend “chats with the Congressman” set up an appointment during office hours. These are much more effective than petitions — but go ahead and sign the petition! Politicians DO want to know what their constituents are thinking. Personal stories can be very effective. Make sure you have all your facts straight. A bulleted fact sheet can be helpful. Pictures don’t hurt either. It helps put a a face to a name or a cause. Change can be slow, so be patient but persistent.

    BTW, the above tips were given to me by a Congressman and the lobbyist for the Florida Animal Control Association.

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more! Voting is so incredibly important for animal lovers — and all Americans, really. My local government seems set on taking rights away from our citizens and protecting those who hurt animals (i.e. our ag gag law). I’m going to get out there and do my civic duty today. I hope others will as well!

  4. Heading out shortly to vote! I’ve heard stories about dogs being registered to vote and getting political info in the mail. Hopefully there won’t be too many stories about election fraud this time around. On a lighter note, at least the dogs would vote for dog-friendly legislation :)

  5. I’m quite a pessimist about our political system. No matter who I vote for, I feel they are pretty much in it for their own personal gain. It may not start out that way, it may start with a dream about changing things, but then all the money behind all the lobbyists start to warp things, and so much for good intentions. It is a very frustrating situation and I hate thinking about politics. And of course, living just outside DC just exacerbates it 😉

  6. I can’t offer anything from a less insane democracy, have you seen what’s going on in the UK?? However, I echo your views that people should exercise their right to vote, and if you don’t like anyone whose standing spoil your vote. I would always spoil my vote rather than not stand!

  7. I’m so glad here in MI the bill to legally hunt wolves did not pass – it wasn’t that long ago that they were endangered. It’s already legal for someone to shoot a wolf if it’s on their property so why some felt the need to hunt them for sport is beyond me. I’m so frustrated with some of the local townships around here – I’ve been working with a local group that has been trying to make pet stores and puppy mills fact stronger inspection standards and hopefully we’ll see some real change soon. It was so disheartening to read a story in the local paper about it though – the reporter said that pet stores shouldn’t have to face any tougher regulations because that would harm our free market economy…. Yeah, still a long ways to go for some people to understand that animals aren’t the same as goods/objects.

  8. Glad to see you using your platform to get the word out on actual issues like this. Great info.

  9. Margaret T says:

    Unfortunately, my state elected a governor who is pro-puppy mill. Pet store chains that sell puppies were large contributors to his funds. I am not happy about that.