Goodbye Robert Byrd, animal advocate (and senator)

The animal welfare movement lost a good one today. Senator Robert C. Byrd, an unflinching advocate for compassion and kindness, died this morning at age 92.

According to the Humane Society of the United States:

“[Byrd] led the way on increased funding to ensure viable oversight of the Animal Welfare Act and other key laws. He won enactment of a measure to allow the adoption of horses no longer used by the U.S. Border Patrol and other federal agencies, and provisions calling on the Department of Defense to rethink its use of live primates for training related to chemical and biological agents. He was also a leader on efforts to end the cruel slaughter of horses for food, winning a decisive floor vote that aided in the closure of horse slaughterhouses, and introducing legislation to increase protections for wild horses from cruel roundups and commercial sale and slaughter.”

And in his own words:

Regarding animal welfare: “Let us strive to be good stewards and not defile God’s creatures or ourselves by tolerating unnecessary, abhorrent and repulsive cruelty.”

Regarding Michael Vick’s dog fighting activities: “…Brutal, sadistic event motivated by barbarism of the worst sort and cruelty of the worst, worst, worst sadistic kind. One is left wondering: ‘Who are the real animals: the creatures inside the ring, or the creatures outside the ring?’

Regarding dogs and cats: “Our pets are our companions, our soul mates, and our hedge against emotional turmoil.”

Regarding livestock: “Our inhumane treatment of livestock is becoming widespread and more and more barbaric… These creatures feel; they know pain. They suffer pain just as we humans suffer pain.”

Rest in peace, Senator Byrd.