Hillary Clinton: In the U.S. Senate, she earned a 100 percent score on the Humane Scorecard in the 108th and 109th Congresses and an 83 in the 110th. She cosponsored legislation dealing with horse slaughter and animal fighting, as well as bills to stop the processing of “downer” livestock and to crack down on abusive puppy mills. She also led efforts to stop the overuse of antibiotics in farm animals. Additionally, Clinton signed letters requesting more funds for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to enforce the Animal Welfare Act, the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act and the federal animal fighting law.
During the 2008 campaign, she voiced concern over the slaughter of sick and injured cows whose meat was channeled into the national school lunch program.
As secretary of state, she led international efforts to crack down on wildlife trafficking and, through the Clinton Foundation, she helped to launch a major campaign to fight the illegal ivory trade and poaching of elephants.
Bernie Sanders: Sanders has been a steady and consistent supporter of animal protection in Congress. As a House member, he earned a 58 percent on the Humane Scorecard for the 103rd Congress, 75 percent in the 104th, 60 percent in the 108th and a 100 percent score in the 106th and 109th. As a senator, he scored 100 percent in the 110th, 112th, and 113th Congresses, an 89 in the 111th and an 86 percent in the most recent session.
In the current session, Sanders is cosponsoring legislation to protect pets in domestic violence, ban horse slaughter for human consumption, create a felony penalty for malicious animal cruelty and a crack down on horse soring abuses. He opposed the weakening of the Endangered Species Act.
In previous sessions, he cosponsored bills to crack down on puppy mills and animal fighting, to restrict the private trade in big cats and primates as exotic pets and to ban barren battery cages for egg-laying hens. He also helped to lead an effort to end the use of chimpanzees in invasive research.
Sanders was the first presidential candidate to publish an animal welfare statement and it’s a strong and compelling one that demonstrates his concern for the issues, as well as his leadership.
In the GOP
Donald Trump: When Trump owned the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, he reportedly was involved in canceling an inhumane horse-diving act. On the down side, he has defended his sons’ trophy hunting of African wildlife, including giraffes, buffaloes and lions. Trump also lamented Ringling Bros.’ decision to phase out its performing elephants.
Ben Carson: Carson has said little about animal welfare issues throughout his career, but he says in interviews that he is mostly vegetarian, and, in a 1990 interview with Vegetarian Times he shared his belief that “eventually there will no longer be a reason for most people to eat meat. And animals will breathe a sigh of relief.”