Statement For Press


Animal Wellness Action and Wayne Pacelle Mourn Dianne Feinstein

She was one of the most consequential animal welfare advocates in U.S. Senate history.

Washington, D.C. — Animal Wellness Action and its president Wayne Pacelle paid tribute today to the extraordinary public service of Senator Dianne Feinstein, including her immense contributions on animal welfare.

“Dianne Feinstein was a giant on the national stage on animal welfare public policy,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy. “For 30 years, starting with my advocating with her for the California Desert Protection Act in her first term in 1993, to collaborating with her and team in 2023 in her sixth Senate term to protect the voter-approved farm-animal welfare law Prop 12 from attempts to overturn it, she made a difference for animals. I cherished her commitment, ability, and compassion.”

Pacelle recounted the scope of her work to defend all animals from cruelty and to give them safe places to live.

  • Protecting Animals on Farms. In 2008, Feinstein was the first major statewide elected official in California to endorse Proposition 2 to provide more living space for breeding sows, laying hens, and veal calves, and then later introduced national legislation that sought to promote a transition for the egg industry to adopt more humane housing. She had been leading the effort to defend Prop 12 from attacks by agribusiness groups to unwind a vote of the people and working to block the so-called EATS Act from advancing in Congress.
  • Curbing Slaughterhouse Abuses. She was in the forefront of efforts to halt the mistreatment and mishandling of so-called “downer cows,” whose misfortunes were in some cases tied to the onset of Mad Cow Disease in some animals. She worked with President Obama to promote a rulemaking action to ban the slaughter of downer cows in the United States after an investigation at a Chino slaughterhouse revolted the nation.
  • Saving California Wildlife and Their Habitats. She was the Senate leader of the California Desert Protection Act, creating two national parks and a national preserve in the state. In 2016 success, she advocated for, and helped to secure, an additional 1.8 million acres of Mojave Desert landscape under the Antiquities Act, building on that original work. Internally, she battled against poaching of elephants and other African wildlife and supported a raft of other wildlife policies to protect wildlife, including the Bear Poaching Elimination Act,
  • Protecting Marine Life. She provided important encouragement and support for efforts to get SeaWorld to stop breeding orcas in captivity, which was memorialized in an agreement between key parties in 2016. She promoted rulemaking efforts to protect other captive marine animals and worked tirelessly to halt reckless commercial fishing practices.
  • Building a Federal Anti-Cruelty Legal Framework. Feinstein backed legislation to create a national anti-cruelty law (the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act), to build a strong federal anti-animal fighting law with federal penalties, and to push the Department of Justice and other federal law enforcement agencies to do more in battling animal cruelty. She spoke out about the relationship between animal cruelty and other forms of social violence and criminal conduct.
  • Helping Horses. She had an enormous passion for horses and was in the forefront for three decades of battling against horse slaughter and the mistreatment and reckless roundups and removal of wild horses and burros from our federal lands in the West. She helped shepherd to passage the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act in Congress in 2019.

Center for a Humane Economy is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(3) whose mission is to help animals by helping forge a more humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both. The Center believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @TheHumaneCenter

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) whose mission is to help animals by promoting laws and regulations at federal, state and local levels that forbid cruelty to all animals. The group also works to enforce existing anti-cruelty and wildlife protection laws. Animal Wellness Action believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @AWAction_News