A new online tool is enabling US voters to see at a glance how their government representatives have acted on legislation surrounding animal welfare issues.
The Congressional Accountability Tool (CAT), a digital advocacy platform, was launched this week by Animal Wellness Action (Action), a new 501(c)(4) organization promoting legal standards against cruelty. Issues under scrutiny include the slaughter of horses (including wild mustangs and burros) for human consumption, horse soring, opening up national wildlife refuges and national preserves in Alaska to aerial hunting of bears, cracking down on staged animal fights in US territories, and adopting the nation’s first-ever anti-cruelty statute.
The CAT is a voter-centric tool that allows users to examine a detailed set of summaries on animal issues after inputting a zip code or selecting the name of the lawmaker. The information is assembled in two data clusters: 1) their records for the 115th Congress (from January 2017 to present) and 2) for much or all of their Congressional careers. The data visualization firm Periscopic, along with Animal Wellness Action creative director Michael Prieve, designed the tool.
Animal Wellness Action looked only at matters that attracted substantial Congressional debate and support and that animal protection groups considered important policy issues. While lawmakers have introduced more than 50 animal welfare bills in the 115th Congress, the CAT includes the 10 or so issues that had a critical mass of support and that offered the prospect of meaningful reform by being approved in both chambers…(CONTINUED)