The Humane Society Legislative Fund said today it's top target for defeat this election is Rep. Joe Knollenberg, R-Bloomfield Hills.
Sara Amundson, the executive director of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, cited Knollenberg's "long-term abysmal record" on animal welfare issues, his Democratic challenger's "stellar" record in the Michigan legislature, and the makeup of Oakland's Ninth Congressional District, which she said is far more progressive on animal rights than is its representative.
"Knollenberg is really out of step with the district he represents," Amundson said, pointing to his 17 percent rating on the Humane Society scorecard.
Knollenberg campaign manager Mike Brownfield said, "This is just another thinly veiled attempt by an outside attack machine to smear Congressman Knollenberg and his record."
The group endorsed Democratic challenger Gary Peters and will also run an independent campaign to defeat Knollenberg. "We're still making a decision whether it'll be both TV and radio. We'd like to do both," Amundson said.
In its announcement on why it is targeting Knollenberg, the group said, "Throughout his career in Washington, he has opposed modest animal welfare reforms, including efforts to halt horse slaughter for foreign consumption; stop the processing of animals who are too sick or injured to walk to slaughter and pose a greater threat of spreading 'mad cow disease;' stop wealthy American trophy hunters from shooting threatened polar bears in the Arctic; stop the trophy shooting of bears over piles of grease and jelly doughnuts on national forests and other federal lands; stop the use of steel-jawed leghold traps and wire neck snares on national wildlife refuges--inhumane and unsporting practices opposed by responsible hunters; and protect dolphins from drowning in tuna nets.
"Although he claims to be a fiscal conservative, Knollenberg voted to use tax dollars to promote the trophy hunting of elephants in Africa, and to give a $2 million annual subsidy to the luxury mink coat industry. He voted twice to spend millions of dollars to kill predators with cruel traps and poisons as a government subsidy for private ranchers, and he sought to de-fund the U.S. Department of Agriculture's enforcement of the federal law to combat animal fighting--the same law that was later used to break up Michael Vick's dogfighting ring."
The group also endorsed Democrat Mark Schauer over Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, who received a 17 percent rating.