Last weekend during the Animal Law Conference at Lewis & Clark, ASPCA’s Nancy Perry presented the latest news in legislation concerning animal welfare. There are quite a few federal bills in play during this first session of the 112th Congress. I encourage everyone to contact your own representatives in the House and the Senate to express your support for legislation that can make a difference in countless animals’ lives.
- American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act
100,000 horses are exported from the United States each year to slaughter in other countries for human consumption. This bill would prohibit the sale or transport of horses in interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of processing them for human consumption.
- Horse Transportation Safety Act
Although there is a USDA regulation that prohibits use of double-decked trucks to transport horses to slaughter, the agency has commented that it lacks resources to enforce the regulation. (The federal law as it stands also allows transport in double-decked trucks for horses going to destinations other than slaughterhouses.) Although states such as Pennsylvania and New York have banned this method of transport, we need a federal law that will protect horses as they are transported across state lines.
- Interstate Horse Racing Improvement Act
This bill would amend current law to prohibit the use of performance-enhancing drugs in horse racing.
Corolla Wild Horses Protection Act
Gorgeous mustangs along the coastline! This bill directs the Secretary of the Interior to enter into an agreement that would ensure the management of the free-roaming wild horses in North Carolina’s Currituck National Wildlife Refuge.
- Veteran Dog Training Therapy Act
The implementation of a pilot program to include dog training therapy for veterans. Even better: this bill, which just was passed as part of a package of veteran benefits, includes the use of shelter dogs. Helping veterans and giving shelter dogs loving homes — LOVE it!
- Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act
Prosecuting animal fighting is tough, especially when a crowd of spectators scatters and not one of them is held responsible for complicity in the criminal behavior. It’s simple: if someone goes to a dog-fighting event, (s)he is helping to make these kinds of ventures profitable. And, besides providing economic incentive, spectators are participating in an immoral, criminal activity. This bill would ensure that spectators are held accountable for their part in the animal fighting underworld. Long overdue.
- Fairness to Pet Owners Act
Medications for animals can be extremely pricey. This bill provides people with the ability to receive a copy of veterinary prescriptions so that they can choose to have those prescriptions filled elsewhere, perhaps at a significantly lower cost.
- Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act
Lots of attention has been given to the problem of puppy mills, but the fact is that not nearly enough has been done to correct this problem. This bill seeks to amend the Animal Welfare Act to further protect dogs, keeping in mind breeders’ newer business model of selling directly to the public via the internet (currently not regulated). The bill also requires exercise for the dogs, which would improve the quality of life of the puppies and the breeding dogs; typically, these dogs are suffering terrible living conditions and continuous confinement. While efforts on the state level are laudable, the pups need the protection of a federal law. Let’s do all we can to end the atrocity of puppy mills in this country.
- Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act
I’ve written extensively on the experimental use of chimpanzees. Even the scientific community agrees that research on primates has proven more a waste of taxpayer dollars than anything else. This bill would, once and for all, put an end to invasive research on great apes. And we’ll save an estimated $20 million in doing so. Win-Win.