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U.S. animal rights legislation

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U.S. Animal rights legislation focuses on federal legislation relating to animal issues.

For animal rights and welfare issues, see also War on Animals. For animal testing issues, see also animal testing. For animal issues relating to U.S. government subsidies, funding, inspections, animal testing requirements and military testing, see also U.S. Government's War on Animals. For farm animal issues in relation to human health and the environment, see also meat & dairy industry. For commercial dog breeding, see also puppy mills. For humane groups, protests, boycotts and general observance and other issues, see also Humane Movement.

HR 3058: Puppy Protection Act (PPA), 107th Congress, 2001-02 (defeated)

The Puppy Protection Act S. 1478/HR 3058 (PPA) was an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) [1] which would have protected animals living in laboratories, puppy mills and pet stores. It was introduced by Senators Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Richard Durbin (D-IL). [2] The PPA included a "three strikes and you're out" system, limits on litters for breeding females (to recover between litters) and a minimum breeding age of one year for females. It also contained requirements for adequate socialization with other dogs and people, to prevent future behavior problems. The House-passed version of the Farm bill H.R. 2646, did not contain the puppy mill provision. [3] Opposition to this bill included breeder and industry lobbying like the AKC, the NAIA and the AVMA. [4], [5]

S. 1731 Helms amendment to USDA Farm Bill Amendment, 107th Congress, 2001-02 (passed)

Over 90% of the animals used in experimentation are purposely excluded from protection under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the only federal law which over sees animal testing. Rats, mice, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish are not covered and expressly eliminated from all safeguards. Species not covered under the AWA do not even have to be reported. [6] The Senate accepted an amendment to the USDA Farm Bill amendment S. 1731 to to bar the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from including these animals under the AWA. The amendment was introduced by the late Jesse Helms, a republican senator from North Carolina. [7] See also NABR & the Animal Welfare Act.

HR 2669: Pet Animal Welfare Statute (PAWS), 109th Congress, 2005-06 (defeated)

The Pet Animal Welfare Statute S. 1139/HR 2669 (PAWS) was introduced by Senator Richard Santorum of Pennylvania, a state long plagued with the problem of unregulated breeding operations or puppy mills. This bill classified home breeders producing over six litters and selling over 25 animals a year, as dog and cat dealers. The bill would have required them to meet minimal standards of housing and care. [8] Opposition to this bill included the NAIA Trust. [9]

HR 4239: Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), 109th Congress, 2005-06 (passed)

The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act S. 3880/HR 4239 (AETA) was introduced by Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on September 8, 2006 and became law on November 27, 2006 after receiving President Bush's signature. Its stated purpose is "to provide the Department of Justice the necessary authority to apprehend, prosecute, and convict individuals committing animal enterprise terror."

Critics have characterized the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) as being designed to protect the financial interests of corporations and industry as well as chill dissent and discourage legal activism, boycotts and protests. [10] See also AETA, section 7.

HR 249: Restoring prohibition of wild horse & burro slaughter & sale, 110th Congress, 2007-08 (passed)

110 bill H.R. 249. On April 26, 2007, the House considered a bill which would reverse an amendment to a 2005 appropriations bill that allowed for the commercial sale and slaughter of wild free-roaming horses and burros. The 2005 law also provided, and this bill would prohibit, that animals over ten years old or that have been unsuccessfully offered for adoption three times must be sold with no limitations. It allowed the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to round up horses and burros for adoption when necessary. Following passage of the bill, the BLM followed the practice of rounding up more animals than it could get adopted or afford to care for and feed. As of 2007, the BLM had approximately 31,000 horses and burros in holding facilities (their care and feeding reportedly half the BLM budget). As of 2007, 50 horses had been slaughtered since the 2005 bill passed. The 2005 bill had cited overpopulation as justification for allowing the Bureau of Land Management to conduct a roundup of the horses and burros. This bill noted there were:

“significantly fewer of those animals than 25 years back. In 1980 there were 62,638 and by February 2007 there were 28,500.”

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) and passed 277 to 137.[11] See also War on Animals, section 3.

Durbin-Vitter PUPS Act: Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act

In May of 2010, responding to scathing report by the USDA Inspector General (IG), critical of the government’s handling of puppy mill investigations, Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator David Vitter (R-LA) called for immediate changes in the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS); promising to work with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on administrative and legislative reforms. According to Senator Durbin:

“This report raises serious concerns about APHIS’ ability to enforce the law, ensure the welfare of animals, and crack down on the most negligent and irresponsible dog breeders,” Durbin said. “While USDA has already begun to make administrative changes at APHIS, more needs to be done. I will work closely with Secretary Vilsack to ensure these changes address the complaints detailed in the Inspector General’s report. I’ll start today by introducing a bill that will close the loophole that allows large breeders to sell puppies online, escaping inspection and oversight.” [12]

Animal legislative updates

For federal and state legislation relating to animal issues, see also Animal Law Coalition. [13]

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