Advocacy group blasts Trump Cabinet as 'anti-animal'

Advocacy group blasts Trump Cabinet as 'anti-animal'
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An animal rights advocacy group is slamming President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns Trump's doctor issues letter addressing 'speculation' about visit to Walter Reed MORE's Cabinet as "anti-animal" and singling out his pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

"A number of anti-animal politicians have been under consideration for cabinet posts in the Trump administration, but the president-elect has selected one of the very worst to lead the Environmental Protection Agency: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt," wrote Michael Markarian, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund in a blogpost on Thursday.

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Markarian said Pruitt as Oklahoma's top law enforcement official "abused the power of his office to attack charities on behalf of agribusiness interests" and worked to block animal welfare initiatives.

The blogpost highlights an unsuccessful effort by Markarian and the Oklahoma Farm Bureau to push a "right to farm," which supporters said would have protected family farms from burdensome regulations. But critics said the measure, which voters rejected, could have eliminated many animal protection laws.

"It was so broadly written that it could have prevented restrictions on puppy mills, horse slaughter, and even cockfighting," said Markarian.

The group also claims Pruitt targeted animal rights groups, including the Humane Society.

“Pruitt had previously used his position as Attorney General and used government channels, press releases, and social media to criticize The Humane Society of the United States, mounting a political attack on a charitable organization because of that group’s mission and beliefs,” Markarian said.

The blog post also notes that days before the election, Pruitt was a keynote speaker at the convention of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, a group that fought the Humane Society Legislative Fund's ballot initiative to outlaw cockfighting in the state.

Trump announced Pruitt's nomination to head the EPA on Thursday, calling him “one of the country’s top attorneys general."

But the nomination sparked the ire of green groups and Democrats who noted that Pruitt, if confirmed, would be leading an agency he has challenged repeatedly in the courts.

He's led other Republican attorneys general in legal fights against EPA regulations, including President Obama's Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule.

Markarian said Pruitt's nomination was a troubling sign for those concerned about animal welfare issues.

“It remains to be seen what’s to come for selections to the Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, and other key agencies that shape the policies that affect millions of animals,” Markarian said.