The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) commends the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate Appropriations Committees for including monumental victories for animal welfare in the final Fiscal Year 2020 spending package. As a result, we are poised to see critical improvements for wildlife, wild and domestic horses, companion animals, and others.
Next the House and Senate will vote on the bills, before they head to President Trump for his signature. Among the key provisions benefiting animals:
- Horse slaughter facilities cannot legally operate in United States.
- Wild horses managed by either the Bureau of Land Management or U.S. Forest Service cannot be killed for slaughter.
- The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will restore and continue to publish Animal Welfare Act and Horse Protection Act inspection and enforcement documents, which have been missing from its website since January 30, 2017. This reestablishes vital transparency to the operations of puppy mills, horse trainers, roadside menageries, and others.
- Three million dollars will go toward research and monitoring of the gravely imperiled North Atlantic right whale.
- Funding will continue for research on methods to reduce sea turtle bycatch and for sea turtle stranding and rehabilitation programs.
- Dealers who sell randomly acquired dogs and cats for use in experiments will continue to be barred from operating.
- Two million dollars will go toward the Protecting Animals with Shelter (PAWS) grant program, which will make additional resources available to domestic violence service providers to enable them to better assist survivors and their companion animals.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture will work with producers to develop disaster plans to protect farm animals and prevent injuries and deaths resulting from extreme weather events.
- The Rescuing Animals With Rewards (RAWR) Act, included in its entirety, will empower the State Department to offer financial rewards in exchange for information that targets wildlife traffickers. This provides the department and federal law enforcement with a vital tool to address this sophisticated, organized international crime network.
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will reassess its current policy of evaluating applications to import sport-hunted elephants and lions on a case-by-case basis, since population numbers have continued to decline under the existing policy. The agency will consider ways to assist exporting countries with conservation programs that don’t involve the slaughter of imperiled species, with an update due to Congress in 60 days.
“The final spending package is an incredible example of the progress on animal welfare issues that can result from bipartisan cooperation,” said Cathy Liss, president of AWI. “The humane treatment of animals and the protection of imperiled species can and should transcend party lines. Horses will be saved from slaughter, domestic violence victims will be able to escape with their beloved pets, wildlife traffickers will be caught, and the enforcement of animal welfare laws will regain transparency. We’re grateful to the leaders of the appropriations committees for their tireless work on this legislation and for their inclusion of so many humane and conservation-oriented provisions.”
Featured image: The U.S. Senate building in Washington D.C. Image credit Larry Lamsa, CC BY-SA 2.0.