Paul Tonko honored for work on equine issues

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Rep. Paul Tonko receives the 2020 Humane Legislator of the Year Award from Kitty Block, left, Sara Amundson, center right, and Tracie Letterman at right.
Rep. Paul Tonko receives the 2020 Humane Legislator of the Year Award from Kitty Block, left, Sara Amundson, center right, and Tracie Letterman at right. © The HSUS

Representative Paul Tonko, D-N.Y. has been named Legislator of the Year for 2020 by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), after his tireless work on the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, which became law in December 2020.

Tonko’s district includes Saratoga Springs, a hub of thoroughbred horse racing, bringing strong credibility to the task of pushing these urgently needed reforms.

For his unswerving commitment on the horseracing bill, and for his consistent leadership on equine protection measures — such as the Save America’s Forgotten Equines Act, to prevent the slaughter of American horses, and the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act, to protect Tennessee Walking Horses and related breeds from soring — he was also honored at the HSUS 2020 Humane Horseman of the Year.

Tonko also co-led the Humane Cosmetics Act, which would phase out animal-based cosmetics testing for cosmetics products and eventually prohibit the sale in the US of cosmetics tested on animals in other nations.

“These are well-deserved honors for Rep. Tonko, a longtime member of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus,” said Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) president Sara Amundson.

HSLF’s 2020 scorecard rated legislators on key votes; co-sponsorship of bills concerning cosmetics testing, captive exotics, horseracing, shark fin sales, horse soring, puppy mills, disaster planning, horse slaughter and live wildlife markets; signing letters seeking priority funding and provisions in the Agriculture Appropriations bill, and demonstrating leadership on the stewardship of humane measures.

HSLF recognised 236 legislators for their tireless work for animals in 2020 (covering 42 states, the District of Columbia and the Northern Mariana Islands). This includes 47 senators and congressional representatives who took the lead on animal welfare legislation or a letter to an agency and received a perfect score on the Humane Scorecard, 103 senators and representatives who sponsored pro-animal legislation or an agency letter and 85 others who received a perfect score on the scorecard.

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