(Or Barack Obama: Still Bad for Animals, and Even Worse for Animal Advocates)
When it comes to animal welfare there is no worse hypocrite than President Obama. I know what you are probably thinking, “That’s impossible! There are people way more mean to animals than Obama! And he even took a question from a vegan girl at that town hall meeting!”
This very outcry I hear whenever I mention the president’s current record with regard to animals is what inspired me to delve into this very important, yet seemingly ignored, issue. There are three aspects to this “Animals and Obama” situation that make him so especially dangerous to the animals and to those humans who support them:
- President Obama has passed some of the most anti-animal/animal advocate legislation this country has ever seen;
- He proudly promotes, supports, and keeps company with some of the nation’s most notorious animal exploiters and abusers;
- Animal Welfare advocates love him unconditionally.
Even way back in 2008, before I was completely vegan, and still blithely unaware of many of the standard industrial abuses inflicted on animals every minute of every day across the country, it was apparent to me that this Obama dude wasn’t a big fan of animals. The dead pig being paraded on a platter at one of Barack’s many “I’m from Hawaii, I promise!” luaus, along with Michelle’s Vogue-approved wardrobe staple of thigh-high leather boots should have been a clue, not just to me, but to animal lovers everywhere. Apparently, it wasn’t. When it comes to the president, abuse and exploitation of animals is just fine, and those concerned citizens who were once self-avowed “animal voters” are content to shelf it all in hopes of some deep spiritual connection with their favorite celebrity president, i.e. simply joining the ranks of the Democratic Party.
While supposed animal welfare advocates everywhere are busy fawning over their favorite animal abuser, let’s run down just a few examples of some of Obama’s most ridiculously anti-animal/anti-animal advocate actions as president:
- Provided a $12 million grant through the USDA’s Dairy Management Council of the American Dairy Association to (get this) Domino’s Pizza in exchange for (wait for it) using 40% MORE cheese on pizzas;
- The legalizing of the hunting and slaughter of America’s wild horses for human consumption, after promising to ban the act during his campaign for the presidency;
- The backing of Ag Gag bills across the country that aim to unconstitutionally ban filming inside slaughterhouses, and criminally charge anyone caught doing so;
- The signing into law of Senate Bill 1867 which not only lifted the ban on bestiality in the military (I must have missed all those US soldiers clamoring for the right to rape animals), but also, thanks to Obama’s predecessor and The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which classifies animal activists as potential terrorists, now legally allows for their detainment indefinitely. And here we all thought that Bush and Obama weren’t alike!
- The purchasing of millions of chickens, hogs, lambs, and fish from farms and slaughterhouses across the US to, according to USDA spokesperson, Tom Vilsack, “Help bring supply in line with demand." The Defense Department was even enlisted to “speed up purchases," and said it “would review its meat purchases and see if they can be accelerated.” While campaigning in Iowa and bragging about the $170 million dollars in federal funds he had just dropped to “help the farmers through this crisis,” Obama is quoted as saying, “We’ll just freeze it for later. We’ve got lots of freezers.” Where is Michelle’s anti-obesity campaign when you need it?
- The above statistic paves the way for Obama’s next act; the “by dark of night” signing of the 2012 Farm Bill, which, hidden amidst a massive “Fiscal Cliff” package, not only continued exorbitant government subsidies to farmers and ranchers, but also required the USDA to begin buying up dairy products. Wow! Screw the free market (and the animals)! Obama proved that the government can simply create supply and demand! Who knew?
- And finally, a $15 million grant through the Dept. of Health and Human Services to build Arizona State University’s “Research Park,” which has become one of the world’s largest animal testing facilities, housing more than a quarter of a million animals, and unabashedly performing vivisection despite outcry from animal advocates.
Now, if these few technical examples weren’t enough to convince you of the president’s lack of empathy towards animals, perhaps some social examples will. President Obama has regularly affiliated and aligned himself with those who would do (and have done) animals harm. This past July, a campaign fundraising dinner was held in Obama’s honor at Sarah Jessica Parker’s Manhattan home. The $40,000 a plate event was hosted by none other than Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour. Ms. Wintour is notorious for her vicious lack of regard for animals. She has been an undeterred proponent of the use of fur and leather in fashion, refusing to include the cruelty free, faux alternatives in her world renowned publication. Upon outcry from animal advocates over the anti-animal contents of Vogue, she retaliated by publishing the article called “Bloody Good Fun,” which glorified hunting as the “it” sport for enviable men in her debut issue of Vogue Hommes. Wintour even went so far as to send a roast beef dinner down to vegan protestors who were demonstrating peacefully during Vogue’s Christmas party. This is the woman who is presently rumored to be the president’s next nominee for US Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and about whom, when speaking at her and SJP’s fundraising dinner, Obama referred to as “a very good friend” and thanked her “for all she does.” Not surprisingly, Wintour, being the good friend that she is, moderated a private question and answer session between Obama and the party guests. Gee, she DOES do a lot for the president. I wonder how much money the fur industry, not to mention Conde Nast, will take away for that one?
The list of cruel celebrity friendships and affiliations goes on. Infamous dog torturer and murder, Michael Vick, has had many a happy-go-lucky run-in with the president. After Vick was released from prison for animal cruelty and signed to the Philadelphia Eagles, President Obama personally phoned the team’s owner and congratulated him on taking on Vick. Obama even spoke personally with Vick, and endowed the less than bright jock on (get this) how to avoid injury on the field. Vick jovially tweeted about the exchange in July of 2012. He later endorsed Obama for president (big surprise there). Lady GaGa, who regularly sports fur, meat, and even whole animal corpses as part of her ensembles, is a member of the Obama Bunch, along with Beyonce Knowles, who promotes fur in her clothing line, House of Dereon, and Kanye West, who is infamously quoted as saying, “Tell PETA my mink is dragging the floor.” Madonna continues to publicly support the president even while she buys and releases 3000 pheasants onto her property strictly for the purpose of being hunted, and Anthony Bourdain cheerfully endorses Obama while retaliating against the Los Angeles ban on fois gras by going to France and paying to watch a goose “tortured” and finally killed. Hmm. I wonder if those farm owners would have been so willing to give an interview to someone who’s not helping sell their product, like, oh, say, PETA, or even James Bond (Sir Roger Moore, of course) . Funny how things seem to improve when the cameras aren’t hidden.
Of course, politicians have little power over who likes them or wishes to personally endorse them, but politicians (or in this case, rock-stars) do have the power to correct a message or behavior being spread by their fans, especially with regards to public endorsement. Has Obama ever come out against the behavior of his biggest supporters, who shower him with money while continuing their cruel ways? No. He happily rakes in the millions of dollars in blood money he receives from his ghouls, and continues to align himself with them, not only politically, but socially as well.
The examples of the insults and actions against animals and animal advocates are endless, yet the majority of self-avowed animal advocates still also proudly proclaim to be Obama supporters. Rather than simply being silent, many vegans, and even animal welfare activists, actually applaud his behavior, and subsequently, gushed all over social media like love-sick school girls when he was re-elected. Are these Obama-loving animal advocates really this misinformed about the vile actions and affiliations of their beloved, or are they simply masochists, secretly enjoying the president’s apparent loathing for the Cause? The unconditional love that the hordes of supposed animal lovers have for the president is not just unrequited; it’s met with disdain.
So, here’s a thought: instead of continuing to swoon over President Obama’s every move, those with an interest in the treatment of animals would be better served to step back, get some dignity, and acknowledge that their homeboy doesn’t like them or the animals they claim to defend. Until animal advocates wake up and demand that the president amend his record on animal issues for the better, immediately, the situation will only grow more dire, and it won’t just be the animals who suffer the consequences.