Practical Issues > Action Items > Politics

GPUSA National Program
humanescorecard2001.pdf: Rating of US politicians on animal rights issues
Biological Diversity and Animal Liberation

The identification, protection, and enhancement of sustainable systems in which all life can co-exist is critical for our future. Retention of origins

Animal concerns:
Genetic manipulation of species to produce transgenic animals should be prohibited.

Plant concerns:
We believe in fostering an appreciation and respect for plant life in its undisturbed state. We encourage the replanting of indigenous plant life where it has dwindled or been lost. And we believe that non-indigenous plants should be imported only after careful review of the impact on indigenous ecosystems.

In preference for healthy, hardy native plants, we discourage the production of high-tech hybrid seeds with no evolutionary development-seeds that have low resistance to disease and require heavy application of petroleum-based chemicals. Preservation of continuum and ecosystems

Animal concerns:
We believe that the use of herbicides, pesticides, and other toxic agricultural chemicals should be phased out. Petrochemical-based agribusiness and livestock raising should be abolished in favor of use of natural organic wastes and compost.

Steps should be taken to eliminate predator control on public lands, including the reintroduction of native predators where that would contribute to a viable ecosystem. We maintain that state and federal wildlife agencies should focus on preserving and re-establishing habitat for wild animals, instead of practicing game species management for maximum sustainable yield.

Protection of native animals and plants in their natural surroundings must be given priority over economic development plans. Where possible, native species should be reintroduced to areas from which they have been eradicated.

Furthermore, drainage of wetlands and development of shore areas must be stopped immediately.

We call on the U.S. government to act aggressively to end the international trade in wildlife and goods produced from exotic and/or endangered fauna.

Plant concerns:
We support the developing network of public access to seed banks, with an emphasis on traditional, indigenous seeds.

We also support the land trust movement, which can ensure that large, complete ecosystems (in perpetual wilderness states) provide a hospitable home in which the individual and collective flora can thrive.

Internationally, the U.S. government should take steps to prevent further destruction of wilderness, such as rain forests.

Funding is needed to expand public germplasm banks and genetic preserves. In addition, companies holding private seed stock should be required to make it available to the public germplasm banks and to return older, open-pollinating varieties to the market. Farmers in the Third World should be encouraged and supported to continue growing remaining cultivars.

We should also encourage a broader range of cultivated fruit, vegetable, and grain varieties, similar to the diversity that existed early in this century before seed companies came into existence. Quality of life

We support ethical and humane treatment of animals and ecologically sound utilization of plants for food or decoration, while recognizing the value of their species' existence and the integrity of the biotic communities to which they belong.

Animal concerns:
Although we have not yet answered the question of whether animal experimentation is ever a necessary or appropriate medical tool, we are confident that the claims of the medical establishment cannot be accepted at face value. A substantial body of evidence suggests not only that effective alternative testing methods exist, but that a different overall philosophy might ultimately be far more effective and safer in promoting human health.

We call on the government to fund projects to develop and promote non-animal technologies where they do not exist, with the hope that animal experimentation may be eliminated. As animal experimentation is phased out, the billions of dollars disbursed annually by the National Institutes of Health for animal experiments could be rechanneled into direct health care, preventive medicine, and biomedical research using non-animal tests and procedures. In the meantime, procedural mechanisms must be established to allow for greater public scrutiny of all research. Areas to be examined include the welfare of laboratory animals and the wasteful public funding of unnecessary research.

We believe that the use of animals in cosmetics and household product testing, tobacco and alcohol testing, psychological testing, classroom demonstration and dissection, and weapons development or other military programs must be outlawed immediately.

We call for government labeling of products, clearly stating whether they have been tested on animals. Nutritional education programs currently administered by the U.S.

Department of Agriculture (USDA) should be handled by an agency charged with promoting public health rather than with promoting the interests of agribusiness. The benefits of vegetarianism for the environment, the alleviation of world hunger, and personal health should be taught in all public health education programs. Vegetarian meals should be made available at all government and public institutions, including primary and secondary schools.

We oppose factory farming, feedlots, inhumane treatment of food animals, and the use of hormones, antibiotics, or other chemicals such as genetically engineered compounds (for example, bovine somatotropin in cows). We do not oppose small-scale homestead livestock raising done in humane and environmentally sound ways. Steps should be taken to begin phasing out intensive confinement systems of livestock production (also called factory farming), which causes severe physical and psychological suffering for animals kept in overcrowded and unnatural conditions.

We believe that the export of live farm animals for overseas slaughter should be banned, and that the domestic transportation and slaughter of animals should be regulated to ensure humane treatment. To accomplish these goals, responsibility for enforcement of animal welfare legislation must be transferred from the USDA to an agency created to protect animals and the environment.

We oppose trophy, vanity, sport, and recreational hunting, fishing, and trapping. We do not oppose hunting and fishing that contributes to personal subsistence, but commercial trapping and fur ranching should be eliminated. We call for an end to the use of furs, while recognizing Western society's responsibility to support alternative livelihoods, where ecologically sound, for native people and others who rely on trapping for subsistence.

We favor the human-animal interaction made possible by companion animals. We oppose commercial breeding, however, because of the massive suffering, overpopulation, and ill health it promotes. Spay and neuter clinics should be subsidized by state and municipal governments in order to combat an ever-worsening pet overpopulation problem, which leads to the euthanasia of millions of animals every year.

We call for intensive education on the abuse and exploitation of animals in entertainment and sports such as horse and dog racing, dog and cock fighting, fox hunting, hare coursing, rodeos, circuses, and other spectacles, in order to bring such activities to an end.

We also call for a critical reappraisal of the use of animals in quasi-educational institutions such as zoos and aquariums.

Plant concerns:
The full diversity of natural habitats in ecosystems must be maintained to ensure the continued health of all plant species, both for the sake of the species themselves and for the continuance of all life.

We therefore support policies that will preserve the maximum biological diversity by preserving all extant wild areas in their natural state, with provision for native subsistence cultures that depend on hunting, gathering, and herding using traditional methods, sustainable agriculture, and alternative small-scale human communities living within their means according to time-tested ecological principles of sustainability, self-regulation, cooperative interdependence, appropriate scale, and diversity. Endangered species

We are committed to the protection and restoration of endangered species and their local populations and to the eradication of all threats to nonendangered species and their habitats.

For this reason, all policies and practices regarding human settlement, food, energy, natural resources, water (fresh and saline), coastal development, and industrialization must be restructured to prevent further incursions on the ability of non-human ecosystems to evolve in a sustainable fashion.

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