The Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance (SAOVA) is a nationwide, nonpartisan group of volunteers seeking to elect politicians who will oppose the "Animal Rightist" (AR) threat to our rights as Americans. It is the only national group working to protect both sportsmen and animal owners, natural allies, in the legislative and political arenas. SAOVA's members hunt, fish and own livestock, dogs, cats and other pets. We study political candidates in all states to identify those who understand and resist the AR threat, as well as those who are in the pocket of the Animal Rightists.
This year, as we did in 2002, SAOVA's volunteers interviewed politicians running for election to the U.S. Congress for the first time. We also reviewed the voting records of incumbents standing for reelection. The goal of these activities was to determine candidates' positions on the animal rightists' threats to our sport, avocations and farming livelihoods.
Bureau of Census documented population changes trigger congressional redistricting every ten years. Those 2002 redistrictings reduced the number of party-competitive U.S. House seats to less than 12 out of 435. Given the vast advantages of incumbency, sitting House members are extremely difficult to defeat at election time. That leaves open seats, created by retirements and politicians running for higher office, as races where small groups might have a significant impact. Because few open seat candidates have pertinent voting records to guide us, we use an issues questionnaire to solicit their views.
"Animal Rights" proponents seek to restrict use and ownership of animals, including hunting and fishing, pet and livestock ownership, circuses, rodeos, zoos and medical research. They pursue this radical agenda through a wide variety of legal and illegal means, but concentrate on passing state and federal legislation that appears to address animal welfare. In reality, however, such legislation goes far beyond its superficial intent, placing severe restrictions on the rights of law-abiding animal owners and sportsmen.
Animal Rights organizations, including the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS), ASPCA, Doris Day Animal League, Farm Sanctuary, Fund for Animals (FFA), PETA and others are growing rapidly and receive huge media-induced donations, frequently from pet-owning citizens who mistakenly believe the money goes to helping homeless animals. Fully 45% of the U.S. House of Representatives and 25% of the U.S. Senate consist of AR adherents, endorsed by the well-funded coalition, Humane USA, and other similar Political Action Committees.
Branches of these national lobbying groups are active in every state legislature. Influenced legislators sponsor outrageous bills, such as mandatory spay-neuter programs and the "Puppy Protection Act" which, under the guise of regulating "commercial facilities," would have placed onerous or impossible federal restrictions on nearly all responsible dog breeders. Another 2003 House AR bill would have superceded all existing state bear hunting regulations. Federal abrogation of any state's wildlife department's rulemaking authority can't be tolerated.
Organize. Get informed. Be pro-active. Study this website. Take a look at our analysis for your state. Understand that SAOVA's reviews are single interest efforts. We make no pretense of evaluating candidates' positions on taxes, education, social security, medical care, national security, gun control or social issues. To the degree that hunting, fishing, livestock farming and pet ownership are important to you, we offer these election candidate analyses to be combined with other, personal considerations to determine your vote. Study the candidates and support those individuals that will support you. Register and VOTE!
SAOVA personnel reviewed the voting records of all House members and Senators running for reelection this year to determine whether they support the AR agenda. Usually the most recent year's data is sufficient for this determination, since committed AR legislators vote the same way year after year. During 1999-2003, many of the twenty-five AR initiated House bills and other actions were considered threats to some animal owner. Senators had fewer relevant voting opportunities.
Any incumbent politician running for reelection that supported four or more of most recent nine AR bills had his or her prior voting record, sponsorships and funding/endorsement records carefully examined. In literally every instance (98+%), our determination of "NO __% Animal Extremist Voter" for incumbents was independently confirmed by the August endorsements of the major Animal Rightist political campaign organization, HumaneUSA PAC. HSUS and FFA also publish useful and informative legislator scorecards.
Our analysis gave modest added weight to three high-profile bills, the recurring, so-called "Puppy Protection Act" and the July 2003 House roll call vote to impose federal restrictions on hunters and their state game departments. SAOVA considers that as a MAJOR TEST VOTE for outdoorsmen. The hypocritical 15% of Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus members that voted against our interests in that crucial showdown are also shown in bold italics on SAOVA's state pages.
Does party affiliation or endorsement by any other interest group guarantee a candidate will defend our rights?
Animal rightists have infiltrated both the Democratic and Republican Party ranks. Voting blindly for a candidate based on party affiliation, without studying that individual's voting record on this or other issues, is a sure prescription for trouble. Likewise, endorsements based on handgun positions or Second Amendment concerns are poor voting guides. Some of the most notable AR legislators support gun ownership, but wish to restrict hunting, trapping or animal ownership. In 2004, 50 federal politicians were endorsed by both Humane USA PAC and the National Rifle Association, the nation's leading Second Amendment protection lobbying group.