Washington - On behalf of its more than 436,000 supporters in New Jersey, The Humane Society of the United States, together with its affiliate, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, presented an award to U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ, for his leadership on animal protection legislation in 2009.

Sen. Menendez received the Humane Champion award for earning a perfect score on the 2009 Humane Scorecard and for leadership on legislation to require the accurate labeling of fur apparel regardless of dollar value (closing a loophole in the current law which allows many fur-trimmed garments to be sold without labels disclosing the use of real fur or the species used), and legislation to establish a federal database for animal cruelty crimes.

"We commend Senator Menendez for being an extraordinarily strong voice for animal protection policies in the U.S. Congress," said Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The HSUS. "He's been at the forefront on so many of the most pressing threats facing the health and well-being of animals, and we are enormously grateful for his compassion and tenacity."

"It is truly an honor to receive this award for my work in the Senate to require accurate labeling of fur apparel (Truth in Fur Labeling Act of 2009 ) and the establishment of a federal database to track and crack down on animal cruelty crimes," said Sen. Menendez. "As a strong believer in the humane and respectful treatment of all animals, I have always made sure to stand up in support of animal welfare laws that uphold these moral values. I look forward to continuing my efforts on behalf of animal rights to uphold these standards."

Every year, the Humane Society Legislative Fund compiles a federal Humane Scorecard to provide a snapshot of animal protection issues considered by the U.S. Congress and give animal advocates a tool to assess the performance of their Senators and Representatives. The scorecard tracks key votes as well as co-sponsorship of important pro-animal bills and signing an annual letter seeking funds needed to enforce key animal welfare laws. For 2009, Senate ratings included votes on Endangered Species Act rules and loaded guns in national parks, and co-sponsorship of priority bills on horse slaughter, fur labeling, and overuse of antibiotics in factory farms.
In total, 131 legislators - one-third of the Senate and nearly one-quarter of the House (representing 36 states and two U. S. territories) - will receive awards for their work in 2009. To see the complete list of 2009 awardees, please click here.

"We're grateful to the many Members of Congress who are helping to forge a path to a more humane future through their demonstrated leadership on animal protection legislation," said HSLF President Michael Markarian. "Our animal welfare laws are a reflection of our basic values and attitudes shared by people across the country."