President Obama & His new Dog, Bo
Today was President Barack Obama's 100th day in office. So, what has Obama done for, or against, animals in his first 100 days in office?
Expectations were high during campaign season. Obama and VP Joe Biden both had great records on animal issues heading into the election, and won the endorsement of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. One disappointment was Obama's statement that a hunter should head the Department of the Interior. Despite pleas from animal advocates, Obama appointed a hunter, Senator Ken Salazar, as Secretary of the Interior. However, Obama also appointed animal-friendly Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture. Also before the election, Obama participated in a book against puppy mills and promised to adopt a rescue dog. Fast forward to 2009, and Obama's actions over the past 100 days have been a mixed bag:
Obama Suspends Delisting of Grey Wolves
One his first day in office, Obama put a freeze on a number of federal regulations adopted by the Bush administration in its final days, including the delisting of grey wolves under the Endangered Species Act. This gave the wolves a temporary reprieve, and gave animal advocates hope.
Grey Wolves in Northern Rockies Delisted
Just weeks after giving hope to animal advocates, the Obama administration delisted wolves under the Endangered Species Act. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, a hunter and rancher himself, cleared the way for individual states to begin killing wolves in order to protect animal agribusiness interests.
Slaughter of Downed Cows Banned in the US
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack banned the slaughter of "downer" cows - cows who are too sick, weak or injured to stand on their own. The decision was applauded by animal advocates across the country.
Obama Breaks Promise to Rescue a Dog
This was the most disappointing move, probably because it was so unexpected. By getting a dog from a breeder, Obama broke his promise to animal advocates and reinforced the misconception that people cannot get their dog of choice from a shelter or rescue group. The Obama's decision will lead to puppy mills churning out Portuguese water dogs, and one breeder of PWDs described the sudden demand for the breed as "general mayhem."
Scientific Requirements of Endangered Species Act Restored
Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced a revocation of the Bush administration's weakening of the Endangered Species Act. With this move, the Obama administration brought back the ESA's longstanding scientific requirements and fulfilled Obama's promise to reverse the Bush administration's change.