Humane Society launches ad: Trump presidency a 'threat to animals everywhere'

The political arm of The Humane Society is mobilizing against Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE with a new ad campaign warning that a “Trump presidency would be a threat to animals everywhere.”

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The Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) announced its endorsement of Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonProminent Putin critic: If Trump turns me over, I'm dead Dems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia Trump tweets old video of Clinton talking up 'a strong Russia' MORE and the launch of a new attack ad against Trump on Wednesday.

“One ticket has a clear, compelling record of support for animal protection, while the other has assembled a team of advisors and financial supporters tied in with trophy hunting, puppy mills, factory farming, horse slaughter, and other abusive industries,” HSLF President Michael Markarian wrote in a blog post.

“The names that Trump’s campaign has floated for engagement on Interior and Agriculture department issues are a 'who’s who' of zealous anti-animal welfare activists.”

The ad takes aim at the Republican nominee’s sons for big-game hunting and notes that Donald Trump Jr. has publicly expressed interest in serving as Interior secretary in his father’s administration.

The 30-second video also notes that oil tycoon Forrest Lucas, an adviser to Trump who is also reportedly a candidate for Interior, supports puppy mills, dog-breeding operations that The Humane Society denounces as cruel for the conditions that they impose on the animals.

The HSLF was established in 2004 to lobby on behalf of The Humane Society of the United States and the Fund for Animals. Since then, it has actively sought to sway lawmakers to support legislation that would protect animals, wild and domesticated.

Joe Maxwell, senior political director at the HSLF, said that while the group endorses House and Senate candidates from both parties, this is the first time it has endorsed a presidential candidate.

“We know this is a big step, but one that we felt we needed to make on behalf of our constituency and on behalf of our membership to encourage a vote for Hillary Clinton,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell noted that Clinton’s voting record in the Senate largely aligned with the HSLF’s stances on various animal protection issues.

After every session of Congress, the group puts out a legislative scorecard that grades each lawmaker’s voting record on these issues. Clinton scored a 100 in the 108th and 109th Congresses, and an 83 in the 110th Congress.

In his blog post, Markarian pointed out that Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceElection Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas Lewandowski: Trump-Putin meeting advances goal of world peace Indiana has spent over million on cleanup of failed Pence family gas stations: report MORE, had “more of a mixed record on animal protection.”

The Indiana governor, who served in the House for 10 years, had scores ranging from 0 to 53 and opposed a variety of wildlife conservation measures.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond when asked for comment.

Trump’s policy agenda is not the only thing that worries the animal rights group. Markarian noted that, if elected, Trump would be the first president since Harry Truman not to have a pet in the White House.

”It’s hardly unusual for pets in our lives to humanize us, and to bring into sharper focus the importance of national policies to help animals,” he wrote. 

“The Clintons seem to have long felt the pull of animals, while the Trumps have not, with two Trump sons being better known for killing animals as a recreational pursuit.”

Asked for comment about the HSLF’s foray into the election, Marc Lotter, a spokesman for Pence, responded, “It should be noted the Pence family includes a dog, two cats, a snake and a rabbit.”