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Obama speaks on environment, farming & development

News Section Icon Published 21/01/2009

President Obama's inauguration speech on 20th January 2009 included the following references:

  • On energy and oil dependence: "...each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet."
  • On alternative fuel sources: "We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories."
  • On Global Warming: "...we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the spectre of a warming planet."
  • On developing nations: "To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow...
  • On sustainable consumption: "And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer...consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it."

Compassion welcomes these references and hopes that President Obama's genuine concern for a cleaner environment and social justice will also embrace animal welfare issues.

New Agriculture Secretary

President Obama has appointed former Iowa Governor, Tom Vilsack as the new Agriculture Secretary. This appointment has received endorsement from several welfarists, such as Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the US, who points out:

"As Iowa governor, he vetoed a bill to allow the shooting of mourning doves-an act that has saved more than 1 million doves from target shooting in the years since and cut against the conventional wisdom about disappointing and defying the NRA and the gun lobby."

Pacelle's colleague at HSUS, Mike Markarian, writes:

"As governor of Iowa, Vilsack advocated for bills to toughen the state's penalties for animal fighting and now he will lead the agency charged with enforcing the federal law to break up dogfighting and cockfighting rings. He stood up to the puppy mill industry and vetoed a bill in 2006 that would have weakened protections for pets by reclassifying dogs as 'farm products'."

Markarian also comments on Lisa Jackson, newly appointed to head up the Environmental Protection Agency, saying:

"Jackson led the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and was a leading animal advocate in the state. She rejected attempts by the NRA, Safari Club, and other trophy hunting groups to initiate a hunting season on New Jersey's small population of black bears, and she instead implemented a comprehensive program to solve bear conflicts with humane methods such as trash management and public education."

Gary Hirshberg, Chairman, President and CEO, Stonyfield Farm, Inc., the world's largest organic yogurt company, says of Tom Vilsack:

"He deeply understands issues of sustainability, of climate change and of the toxification of our nation's air, water and soils that have resulted from short-term, short-sighted thinking. He has taken principled and visionary positions on biofuels and courageous stands in a corn state that corn is NOT the long-term answer. He deeply understands the critical role that family farmers must play in a resource-stressed planet and believes in the need for new, out-of the-box thinking and solutions that will not just slow the deterioration of our nation's farms, soils, ecosystems and biodiversity but will actually begin the process of restoring these broken systems. He respects ecology.

"Tom believes in technologic innovation but is not blind to the threats and problems posed by, for instance, biotechnology. Just as he has been among the nation's truly visionary politicians with wind power, he also sees the promise of the organic foods industry and will be the best organics champion we've ever had in that role."

Stop Factory Farming

To find out more about why we need to put an end to factory farming, visit our Stop Factory Farming campaign pages.

To help us improve the welfare of billions of animals, please support us. We receive no government funding so rely entirely on the generosity of our supporters to prevent cruelty to farm animals all over the world.

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