The U.S. Senate voted last week to confirm animal rights advocate Cass Sunstein as administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for the Obama administration. In his new position, Sunstein will review and approve or reject all regulations promulgated by the administration.
Several animal agriculture organizations have continued to voice reservations about Sunstein’s nomination based on his long history of academic work in animal rights. Among those efforts, he authored a book suggesting that animals should have the right to bring lawsuits against humans. The concern is, in this new position, his views on animal rights could be reflected in federal regulations.
Sunstein’s confirmation was put on hold several times, once by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), which followed a similar hold placed on the nomination by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Sunstein replied to the concerns in a letter he wrote to clarify that he does not favor and would not support giving animals the right to serve as plaintiffs in lawsuits. Instead, he said his focus would be to ensure regulations are consistent with the U.S. Constitution and the principles of laws passed by Congress are reflected in executive orders.
Listen to an audio interview from AgriTalk.