AWI's Compassion Index Measures Legislators' Humane Record; New Features Just Added

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Washington, D.C. -- The Animal Welfare Institute today unveiled its revamped legislative action center, the Compassion Index (CI), located online at www.compassionindex.org. Now, in addition to learning how their elected officials rate on key animal protective legislation, visitors can send letters to Members of Congress, contact the media and more all directly from the website.

First launched in 2006, the CI is the first legislative resource to implement the real-time tracking of animal welfare measures. Bills currently listed on the CI include legislation to ban horse slaughter, strengthen penalties against dog-fighters, prohibit the sale of family pets to experimental laboratories, end the use of steel-jaw leghold traps on fur-bearing animals, and add animal cruelty to the national database of crimes tracked by federal law enforcement. To date, 14 of the 435 U.S. Representatives and four of the 100 U.S. Senators have achieved a perfect 100 percent on the CI.

The site archives data from past Congresses, allowing visitors to research their legislators' past and present records and get a more comprehensive sense of their positions on animal protective measures. AWI encourages everyone to use this site as much as possible and reference their legislators' CI rankings when contacting offices. The more aware legislators become of animal issues and constituents' concerns about them, the more they will strive to be compassionate and achieve higher rankings on the CI.

Other organizations and individuals can add a CI search box to their own websites at www.compassionindex.org/sticker.htm, so that their visitors will have access to legislative information as well. AWI will continue to update this comprehensive advocacy tool with additional helpful features for constituents.

"The CI is a one-stop shop for proactive animal advocates," said Chris Heyde, AWI's deputy director of government and legal affairs. "Individuals and groups around the country should use this website to help improve how the U.S. Congress responds to animal protection measures."

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For over 57 years, the Animal Welfare Institute has been the leading voice across the country and on Capitol Hill to reduce the sum total of pain and fear inflicted on animals by humans. Find our more at www.awionline.org.

Media Contact:
Chris Heyde, AWI, (202) 337-2332