I saw a post
about this on the Humane Society Legislative Fund blog. The animal exploiters' idea, of course, is to keep attitudes and laws regarding animals strictly in the 19th century, and discourage anyone who has even sympathetic views toward animal welfare from any positions of power.
The big stink is especially silly when one considers, as HSLF points out,
If approved, Sunstein wont be in a policy position governing farm animals, the environment, or anything else. It will be the Departments of Agriculture, Interior, and others that issue regulations on animal welfare issues, and then OIRA will make sure they went through the appropriate process. If Chambliss has a goal of making things harder for animal welfare advocates or easier for agribusiness interests, hes picked the wrong nomination to block.
But of course, this is the real issue at stake:
But more importantly, caring about animals, or having thoughtful opinions about regulating their use and treatment in various contexts, should not disqualify someone from holding federal office. Politicians should consider a compassionate concern for animals to be a personal and even political asset for candidates for major executive offices. Compassion and kindness to other creatures are mainstream values held by the best of all people, and its exactly what we should want to see in our public servants. Big Ag thinks its fine when its lobbyists and executives get agency posts, but just let one fellow who has said something serious on animal welfare be nominated and the artillery rolls out.