During this ever-changing presidential election season, Sen. Bernie Sanders started out as an underdog, but is quickly gaining momentum because of his popularity with liberal college students and millennials.
I myself am a “yuge” Bernie supporter, but for a different reason than most people.
Despite his surging popularity, many people don’t know that Bernie Sanders is one of the few politicians in the Senate right now that has consistently supported animal rights legislation.
He has a score of 100 from the Humane Society Legislative Fund, meaning that during his time in Congress since 2013, he has advocated for a pro-animal position every opportunity he has by cosponsoring a piece of legislation, voting or signing letters that support animal welfare.
This puts Sanders in a unique position as one of the 11 senators in Congress that have a score of 100 or higher from the Humane Society. His opponent, Hillary Clinton, scored an 83 on the HSLF scorecard during her last year in the Senate.
As a self-proclaimed animal rights activist and an ethical vegan, I believe this is a very important fact to bring to light to my fellow animal lovers.
If this is an issue that is close to your heart and one that you prioritize, the answer is clear: You should be supporting Sanders.
Sanders has voted pro-animal on not just things dealing with domestic animals, but has also voted in support of many acts that support both farmed animals, endangered species and wild animals in general.
In addition to supporting bills that directly affect animals, Sanders has supported many pieces of legislation that support animals indirectly, such as The Rebuild America Act of 2015.
One of the provisions of this act improves the conditions of our national parks, where many wild animals live.
Sanders’ website lists some of the impressive animal rights legislation he co-sponsored in 2014 alone: the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act, Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act, Safeguard American Food Exports Act, Captive Primate Safety Act, Egg Products Inspection Act, Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act and the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act.
Now, if I tried to explain what all of these pieces of legislation are, I would be writing all week. However, all you should know is that these are very important steps to improving animals’ lives across the United States.
I realize that many people reading this may think, “Why should I care about animal rights?” or, “Why does it matter?” Well, there are a few reasons why having a president who advocates for animals is very important.
The most important reasons are ethical.
If you are a compassionate person, you should educate yourself on how animals are treated on farms in the United States. The unnecessary cruelty and pain that animals go through is gut-wrenching.
I suggest watching “If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls” with Paul McCartney, which was what persuaded me to become a vegan on ethical grounds.
Learning about animal rights changes your world view.
If you start to care about how animals are treated, you will become more sympathetic to the world in general. Compassion is a very important aspect of our society, and it is important for a leader to have compassion to be able to empathize with his own country and with other nations.
It is very important that people know that Sanders is a trustworthy advocate for animals in Congress, and that he would continue to be if he were elected president.
Although he is not a vegan or vegetarian himself, Sanders is still aware of the animal cruelty that goes on in this country.
Despite most of his time being taken up by the presidential election, he still finds time to advocate for the animals who do not have a voice on this planet, which is more than any of the other current presidential candidates can say.
Humans are the only voices animals have, and if you agree, you should be supporting Sanders for president in 2016.
Maddie Lippy, sophomore nutirion and foods major from Huntersville, is an opinion writer.