The 2016 election has become one of the most heated and divisive primaries in American history.
But no matter which party you align with, all animal-loving voters should be aware of the stances their candidates take in regards to animal rights and humane policies that protect pets.
So how do the presidential and vice presidential candidates stack up when it comes to historical pet-friendliness and all-around animal activism? Here are some of the major things to know:
Hillary Rodham Clinton:
The Democratic presidential nominee has an entire page on her website about how she plans to "promote animal welfare and protect animals from cruelty and abuse."
One of the bullet points of Clinton's promises says that, as President, she would "Protect pets and domesticated animals by making sure facilities like animal breeders, zoos, and research institutions create plans to protect the animals in their care during disasters; strengthen regulations of 'puppy mills' and other harmful commercial breeding facilities; and support the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act."
During her time in the Senate, Clinton co-sponsored the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act of 2007, as well as a bill to amend the Horse Protection Act.
Clinton, a pet parent to three dogs (Seamus, Maisie, and Tally), has previously recieved a perfect score from the Humane Society's Legislative Fund. In a press release in 2007 for the HSLF, Clinton said, "Our policies should reflect the important role that animals play in our lives and our environment. I believe we should treat animals humanely and that is why I support anti-cruelty laws."
To date, the Republican party nominee has not taken a stance on animal rights or freedoms throughout his campaign.
While Trump—who reportedly has a dog named Spinee—did listen to the pleas of animals rights activists and shut down a cruel horse diving act in Atlantic City, his other actions regarding animal rights haven't been as helpful.
Clinton's running mate has not done animal rights work that has received national attention (yet), nor did he garner nearly as positive a score from the HLSF (he was given a paltry 38 percent during the 113th Congress in Review). But, the vice presidential candidate did made his mark when he was the governor of Virginia.
In a recent blog post from the Richmond SPCA, Kaine is applauded for being "a compassionate and unpretentious friend to animals." Kaine and his family not only adopted their dog—a terrier mix named Gina—from the facility, but the rescue organization notes that Kaine "has been a great friend to the Richmond SPCA over many years and has helped to make our community one of the most progressive and life saving ones in the country for homeless animals."
Kaine, who calls himself an "avid outdoorsman," says on his own website that he was pleased to pass a new farm bill in 2014 with his colleagues.
Trump's pick for running mate, Pence was given a 0 percent approval rating in the 2012 HSLF scorecard for taking anti-animal stances on both the Hunting in National Parks vote and the Emotional Support Animals vote.
Though the Indiana Governor has three pets in total, a dog (named Maverick) and two cats (named Oreo and Pickle) and welcomed Blue Buffalo with open arms to his state, he has a 4 percent lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters for environmental issues, including wildlife.
Whether or not animal rights will impact your vote on November 8, it's always better to be informed on where politicians stand in regards to issues that are near and dear to you.
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