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Animals Lose a Passionate Defender in the Senate

Posted by at 1:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)


Animals Lose a Passionate Defender in the Senate by Alisa MullinsWith the passing of Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, animals and the people who care about them have lost a longstanding and true friend. The senior senator, who was a meat cutter in his youth, evolved into a tireless advocate for animals.

Sen. Byrd’s soft spot for animals, fueled by his love for his little dog, Billy, was as legendary as the passionate speeches he often made on their behalf. No one who saw it can forget the speech he gave in response to the Michael Vick scandal, in which he condemned dogfighting as “Barbaric! Hear me! Barbaric!”

In 2001, Byrd gave a moving speech in defense of a bill addressing cruelty to farmed animals, saying,

“Our inhumane treatment of livestock is becoming widespread and more and more barbaric. Six-hundred-pound hogs-they were pigs at one time-raised in 2-foot-wide metal cages called gestation crates, in which the poor beasts are unable to turn around or lie down in natural positions, and this way they live for months at a time. … These creatures feel; they know pain. They suffer pain just as we humans suffer pain.”

A year later, Sen. Byrd led an effort to convince the Senate Appropriations Committee to provide $5 million-a record amount-for improving enforcement of the Humane Slaughter Act.

In 2005, Sen. Byrd coauthored the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, which would prohibit the transport, purchase, and sale of horses for human consumption. Versions of the bill, now called The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, have been introduced every year since then, but have yet to pass both houses. As a tribute to Sen. Byrd, please urge your U.S. representatives to at last pass this important law.

PETA named Sen. Byrd our 2007 “Person of the Year” to recognize his defense of animals throughout six decades of public service. Sen. Byrd gave a powerful voice to those with none of their own. His passionate and inspiring dedication to helping animals will be sorely missed.

This post by Alisa Mullins was originally published on The PETA Files.

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    Mare E Florentino says...

    July 3rd, 2010, 2:51 pm

    I was very saddened upon hearing about Senator Byrd’s passing. He was always the voice of reason and compassion towards animal issues. We can only hope his successor will be like-minded. He’ll be sorely missed but what a beautiful legacy he’s left behind. .

    Political leech says...

    July 3rd, 2010, 7:07 pm

    Can’t be too sad since long back he was willing to treat blacks worst than the dogs and whatever else he was trying to protect. Ethical and non racist humans were a rare species/group back then and now they have grown and the previous racist voter base is almost extinct.
    Police rarely inforce human treatment of animals due to going to the supermarket or Takeout at a top notch eatery with the ingredients that are probably supposed to protect.

    Obamo says...

    July 3rd, 2010, 7:09 pm

    Wonder who’s next? Rush Limbaugh due to many of something tasty or Bill O’Rielly for protecting the Beef industry from another Oprah rant?

    Tina Max says...

    July 5th, 2010, 10:10 am

    What a wonderful man who was an avid animal advocate. One of the few in government who are. His death was tragic to me but he is truly a friend to all the animals, may he rest in peace.

    amen says...

    July 7th, 2010, 5:20 pm

    Never knew about this sentetor. thk u too him! so do the animals!

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