In Deb Haaland, Animals Have a Hero

Last week, a historic announcement by the incoming Biden-Harris Administration sent cheers across New Mexico: Deb Haaland, if confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2021, will become our country’s next Secretary of the Interior. As head of the U.S. Department of the Interior, she will not only oversee the Bureau of Indian Affairs, but also lead agencies that manage and conserve public lands and resources, including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Park Service, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Congresswoman Deb Haaland brings a vital perspective never before seen at this level of government: An enrolled citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna and a 35th generation New Mexican, she would be the first Indigenous person to ever hold a Cabinet-level position in a presidential administration in U.S. history. She has a long history of advocacy on racial, economic, and environmental justice, and in Congress, she has served as Vice Chair of the Committee on Natural Resources.

Deb Haaland's appointment would also be an incredible blessing
for New Mexico’s—and this entire nation’s—animals.

Lisa Jennings, Executive Director of APNM and APV, with Deb Haaland at a 2018 campaign event.

Deb Haaland is the first person ever selected for Interior Secretary who has so deeply lived out the humane values about which she speaks. As she has advocated for vulnerable people, the conservation of habitat and natural resources, and action to stave off climate change, she has also extended her fearless compassion to animals, too. We have seen that in action—as a champion for our causes at the state level, like our successful fight to stop coyote killing contests; as an enthusiast for plant-based eating; and as a supporter of our continued work to ban traps, snares, and poisons on our public lands.

It’s no surprise that Animal Protection Voters, in turn, has supported her over the years—because we all deserve leaders who so fiercely embody compassion, strength, and determination. And we are eager to work with her in the new year toward positive, systemic change.

Deb Haaland has long advocated for eliminating trapping on our public lands:
“It’s just the cruelest form of death that we can inflict on an animal.”

What might the future hold? It is very possible that her leadership over BLM land and National Parks could lead to stronger restrictions or bans on the use of traps, snares, and poisons on those lands widely used by the public.

Further, Deb Haaland would bring the most humane-minded approach to the management of the U.S.’s federally protected wild horse herds—approximately 80,000 to 90,000 iconic wild horses roam BLM lands, though decades of habitat decimation and irresponsible population management have led to some calling for radical, cruel, kill-them-quick solutions. The animals, land, and people deserve better, and we know that Deb Haaland will work with wisdom and determination to bring transformational change on this issue and many others.

Thank you for joining with us as we embark on a bright future, where wildlife, habitats, and environmental justice are prioritized by the leaders in Washington, D.C. 

If you are ready and excited for a new era for animals, thank you for supporting our work.


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