One Issue Can Bring America Together!

bipartisanEliminating cruelty to animals is a political issue – but not a political party one! That is, Republican, Democrat or Independent, conservative, liberal or moderate – the one principle that all have in common is that cruelty to animals is not tolerable and must be ended. Truly, this is a nonpartisan issue, and it is up to all of us to remind our legislators of such. We need to approach each legislator with an open mind and with the expectation that regardless of their positions on the economy, education, gun control, or any of the myriad other important issues facing our lawmakers, that there is one ideal upon which we can all agree: animals must be treated humanely and cruelty to them must be eliminated – and we all must join together to do so.

We do animals a disservice when we approach a lawmaker with an assumption that the legislator’s party, or voting record on unrelated issues, reflects how he or she will vote on anti-cruelty bills. Increasingly, we see that animal issues are bipartisan or nonpartisan issues and that legislators who may be conservative on many fronts are beginning to align themselves with anti-cruelty bills. Protection of animals is an issue about which legislators should be encouraged to cross party lines and work hand in hand to get the job done. The current legislative session in Pennsylvania is a perfect example.

Look at HB 1238, the comprehensive anti-cruelty package that just roared through the House: introduced and eloquently fought for by Rep. Todd Stephens, a Republican, which incorporates important legislation previously advocated for by Rep. Ryan Bizzaro (Democrat), Rep. Frank Farry (Republican), Rep. Chris Sainato (Democrat), Rep. Keith Greiner ( Republican), Rep. Mark Keller ( Republican), Rep. Dom Costa (Democrat), Sen. Richard Alloway (Republican), and Sen. John Eichelberger (Republican), and with over 30 cosponsors. And then there is HB 248, to end ivory and rhino horn trade in Pennsylvania: co-sponsored by Rep. Madeleine Dean, a Democrat, and Rep. Tara Toohill, a Republican.  SB 577 to ban the sale of shark fins is co-sponsored by Sen. Richard Alloway – a Republican and Sen. Daylin Leach – a Democrat. Sen. Andy Dinniman, a Democrat, is a continual champion of animal protection including introducing SB 480 to protect pets in domestic violence situations. And, could the fight to end live pigeon shoots have any stronger champions than Rep. John Maher (Republican) in the House and Sen. Pat Browne (Republican) in the Senate? This is not even the full list of bills introduced this session by humane leaders in the Pennsylvania House and Senate.

We have humane champions from both parties – and we are grateful to each legislator who stands strong to eliminate cruelty to animals and crosses party lines and forges bipartisan alliances to push for much needed laws to make our state a better and kinder place for animals. And, we, at Humane PA PAC, have humane advocates from both parties and differing political philosophies, and each voice is so very important to improving the lives of animals through public policy. So, as the 2017-2018 legislative session marches on, with so many critical anti-cruelty bills in various stages of movement, let’s remember and emphasize that the elimination of cruelty to animals knows no party lines – and that all paths can, and should, lead to the humane treatment of animals!


Elissa B. Katz is the President of Humane PA PAC and a partner in the law firm of Meranze, Katz, & Gaudioso, P.C. in Philadelphia. She is a regular volunteer with the Northeast Animal Rescue, assisting with cat care.  She is also a board member of  Woodstock Farm Sanctuary.

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Categories: Animal cruelty, Featured, Pennsylvania Politics, Spotlight


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