Animal Welfare and Protection - Federal Legislation
The Information below can be found on the MSPCA Website
H.R. 746 / S. 388 “AWARE” Act
This bill increases animal comfort by requiring federal government agricultural research facilities to provide humane care for animals in their possession. It would require these facilities to meet the minimum standards in the Animal Welfare Act. Read this NPR piece about animal suffering at a federal animal research facility.
- Status: H.R. 746: 2/27/2015 – Referred to the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture
- Status: S. 388: 2/5/2015 – Read twice and referred to Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
- MA Cosponsors: Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. James McGovern, Rep. Niki Tsongas, Rep. Joseph Kennedy, Rep. Michael Capuano, Rep. William Keating, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Edward Markey
H.R. 1552 Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2015
This bill creates a definition for “medically important antimicrobial” in the FDCA. Using this definition, antibiotic use is limited to the treatment of sick food-producing animals and not as part of a regular diet.
- Status: 3/27/2015 – Referred to the Subcommittee on Health
- MA Cosponsor: Rep. Niki Tsongas
H.R. 2494 Global Anti-Poaching Act
This bill would give the Secretary of State and other officials the ability to withhold certain assistance from countries that are major sources, transit points, or consumers of trafficked wildlife products and have not adhered to international agreements on the protection of endangered or threatened species. The bill will also allow expanding of wildlife enforcement networks and increased training and support for countries and personnel that are trying to fight wildlife trafficking.
- Status: 11/3/2015 – Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations
- MA Cosponsors: Rep. William Keating, Rep. James McGovern, Rep. Michael Capuano
H.R. 1945 Targeted Use of Sanctions for Killing Elephants and Rhinoceros Act of 2015
This bill would amend the African Elephant Conservation Act and the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act to allow trade sanctions against countries involved in the illegal trade of elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn. It would also allow the President to enter agreements with target countries to reduce or eliminate their illegal trade.
- Status: 5/19/2015 – Referred to the Subcommittee on Federal Lands
- MA Cosponsor: Rep. William Keating
H.R. 1258 Pets and Women Safety Act of 2015
The PAWS Act will provide additional protections for the animals of victims of domestic violence. It prohibits persons from committing the offenses of interstate stalking and interstate violation of protection order against pets. It grants restitution for veterinary costs caused by the offender and provides grants for emergency and transitional pet shelter and housing assistance for victims of domestic violence.
- Status: 3/31/2015 – Referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations
- Bill Sponsor: Rep. Katherine Clark (MA)
- MA Cosponsors: Rep. Niki Tsongas, Rep. James McGovern, Rep. William Keating, Rep. Michael Capuano, Rep. Stephen Lynch, Rep. Richard Neal, Rep. Seth Moulton, Rep. Joseph Kennedy
S. 27 Wildlife Trafficking Enforcement Act of 2015
This would apply the federal criminal code provisions regarding money laundering and racketeering to the Endangered Species Act, African Elephant Conservation Act, and the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act if the value of goods involved was over $10,000. Penalties for violation include increased fines and imprisonment. The money collected from fines and penalties would go to the benefit of the impacted species.
- Status: 1/6/2015 – Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
- MA Cosponsors: none (as of 1/7/2016)
H.R. 2016 / S. 1081 Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act
This bill would prohibit the use of any body-gripping traps by the National Wildlife Refuge System. Body-gripping traps are any traps intended to capture or kill animals by physically restraining any part of the animal’s body. Learn more.
- Status: H.R. 2016: 5/26/2015 – Referred to the Subcommittee on Federal Lands
- Status: S. 1081: 5/6/2015 – Committee on Environment and Public Works. Hearings held
- MA Cosponsors: Rep. James McGovern, Rep. Michael Capuano, Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. William Keating, Sen. Edward Markey
S. 1214 John Rainey Memorial Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act
This bill would prohibit the sale and transportation of horses and equine parts for human consumption. It also modifies the FDCA to declare equine parts as unsafe for consumption.
- Status: 5/6/2015 – Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
- MA Cosponsors: Sen. Edward Markey, Sen. Elizabeth Warren
H.R. 2858 The Humane Cosmetics Act
The Humane Cosmetics Act would phase out animal-based testing for cosmetic products in the United States in favor of cutting-edge testing methods, and eventually prohibit the sale in the US of cosmetics tested on animals in other countries, making sure that only safe and humane products enter the American market.
- Status: 6/26/2015 – Referred to the Subcommittee on Health
- MA Cosponors: Rep. Michael Capuano, Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. William Keating, Rep. James McGovern, Rep. Stephen Lynch, Rep. Richard Neal, Rep. Niki Tsongas
H.R. 2293 The Prevent Animal Creulty and Torture Act (The PACT Act)
This bill would empower the FBI and U.S. Attorneys to prosecute animal abuse cases that cross state lines.
- Status: 6/1/2015 – Referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations
- MA Cosponsors: Rep. James McGovern, Rep. Michael Capuano, Rep. Stephen Lynch, Rep. William Keating, Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. Seth Moulton, Rep. Richard Neal, Rep. Niki Tsongas
H.R. 2920 Captive Primate Safety Act
This bill would amend the Lacey Act to prohibit interstate commerce in monkeys, apes and other primates in the exotic “pet” trade. It is narrowly crafted to target the commerce in and private possession of primates, and would not impact zoos, circuses, universities, or sanctuaries.
- Status: 7/14/2015 – Referred to the Subcommittee on Federal Lands
- MA Cosponsors: Rep. Michael Capuano, Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. James McGovern, Rep. Niki Tsongas
H.R. 3546 The Big Cat Public Safety Act
This bill would amend the Captive Wildlife Safety Act to prohibit the private possession and breeding of big cats. There are exemptions for larger facilities such as AZA-accredited zoos, wildlife sanctuaries, state colleges and universities, and select traveling circuses that are in compliance with the AWA. Anyone who currently owns big cats would be allowed to keep the animals, but would need to register them with the government.
- Status: 10/6/2015 – Referred to the Subcommittee on Federal Lands
- MA Cosponsors: Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. William Keating, Rep. Niki Tsongas
H.R. 3294 / S. 1898 The Sanctuary Regulatory Fairness Act
This bill would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to change the CDC regulations governing the importation of nonhuman primates from abroad. Currently, facilities may import a primate for only “bona fide scientific, educational, or exhibition purposes.” The regulation does not include an allowance for “animal welfare purposes,” thereby prohibiting true wildlife sanctuaries from importing primates.
- Status: H.R. 3294: 7/31/2015 – Referred to the Subcommittee on Health
- Status: S. 1898: 7/29/2015 – Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
- MA Cosponsors: none (as of 1/7/2016)
H.R. 687 Protect Interstate Commerce Act
This is a stand-alone bill similar the “King Amendment” that was stripped from the 2014 Farm Bill. This legislation would prevent states from passing laws that would protect the welfare of all farm animals and overturn existing protections.
- Status: 2/27/2015 – Referred to the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture
H.R. 1099 / S. 595 Hunter and Farmer Protection Act
These bills will weaken the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. They create new non-baited areas and alter the language of the Act to allow the taking of migratory birds on non-baited areas. Any area that may attract or lure birds that is created by normal agricultural practices would not be considered a baited area.
- Status: H.R.: 3/23/2015 – Referred to the Subcommittee on Federal Lands
- Status: S.: 2/26/2015 – Read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works
S. 90 Migratory Bird Treaty Amendment Act of 2015
This bill will weaken migratory bird protection by granting farmers, or hired hunters, immunity from the act under certain circumstances. It allows for the farmers to use bait to hunt birds if the current or proceeding year’s crop was destroyed or made economically impracticable by a natural disaster.
- Status: 1/7/2015 – Read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works
H.R. 697 African Elephant Conservation and Legal Ivory Possession Act of 2015
This bill would increase the legal ivory market by removing some of the limitations currently in place to restrict ivory imports and exports. The bill would allow for the import of elephant hunting trophies and would require US Fisheries and Wildlife Service to place a law enforcement officer in each African elephant range country.
- Status: 3/16/2015 – Referred to the Subcommittee on Federal Lands
For more information:
- If your Senator/Congressperson has not signed on to a good bill (to support), please contact him/her and ask him/her to sign on as a co-sponsor.
- To see a list of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation in the 114th Congress, click here
- To find out who represents you and how to contact your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators, visit http://www.wheredoivotema.com/
- To see how the MA Congressional Delegation has scored in previous sessions of Congress, see the Humane Society Legislative Fund’s scorecards
- To check on the status of a bill or to read the text, go to thomas.gov