Senator Byrd Delivers Pro-Animal Message To Senate, Wins New Funds For Animals

On July 9th, Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), a living legend in the

Senate now in his eighth term, delivered an extraordinary, pro-animal

speech on the Senate floor in which he publicly acknowledged the rampant,

institutionalized cruelty that is being inflicted upon animals today. In

a tribute to the virtues of companion animals, Senator Byrd started off

proclaiming, “The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in

this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never

proves ungrateful or treacherous, is the dog.” Byrd’s pleas for

compassion extended to farm animals, who are so often ignored by

legislators as well as the general public:

“Our inhumane treatment of livestock is becoming widespread and more and

more barbaric. Six-hundred pound hogs. . . 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. . . veal calves are confined to

dark wooden crates so small that they are prevented from lying down or

scratching themselves. These creatures feel; they know pain. They suffer

pain just as we humans suffer pain. Egg-laying hens are confined to

battery cages. Unable to spread their wings, they are reduced to nothing

more than an egg-laying machine.”

Concluding his impassioned speech, Byrd condemned the widespread

violations of the Humane Slaughter Act, calling upon the USDA to put an

end to slaughterhouse cruelties:

“Last April, the Washington Post detailed the inhumane treatment of

livestock in our Nation’s slaughterhouses. . . . these animals are

sometimes cut, skinned, and scalded while still able to feel pain. . . .

The law clearly requires that these poor creatures be stunned and rendered

insensitive to pain before this process begins. Federal law is being

ignored. Animal cruelty abounds. It is sickening. It is infuriating.

Barbaric treatment of helpless, defenseless creatures must not be

tolerated even if these animals are being raised for food–and even more

so, more so. Such insensitivity is insidious and can spread and is

dangerous. Life must be respected and dealt with humanely in a civilized

society.”

Senator Byrd’s statements are especially powerful because he is President

Pro Tem of the Senate and Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee,

and they mark one of the first instances when a U.S. Senator has publicly

acknowledged that all animals, including farm animals, “suffer pain just

as we humans suffer pain,” calling for “respect for life, all life, and

for humane treatment of all creatures. ” His speech preceded his actions

to amend the Supplemental Appropriations bill, providing an extra $3

million for enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act and the Humane Slaughter

Act.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Contact Senator Byrd and THANK him for taking a strong stance to protect

all animals. Let him know that his compassionate stance is meaningful to

Americans, and urge him to pursue his commitment to ending cruelty against

animals. Senator Byrd can be reached by writing to:

The Honorable Robert Byrd

U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510

(202) 224-3954

email: senator_byrd@byrd.senate.gov

To read the entire text of Senator Byrd’s

speech, go to:

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/C?r107:./temp/~r107zRWdCt

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