Animal Welfare and Human Animal Bond Issues

Issue Summaries for the 113th Congress

 
H.R. 366/S. 666, the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act of 2013
This legislation amends the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit any person from knowingly attending an animal fighting venture or causing a minor under the age of 16 to attend such a venture.  It sets civil and criminal penalties for violation.

Learn more in AVMA's issue brief on H.R. 366/S. 666>>
 
Status: U.S. Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.-10) introduced H.R. 366 on Jan. 23, 2013, and it was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit, and to the House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.  The House Farm Bill—H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013—included language similar to H.R. 366. This language was included in the stripped down Farm Bill (H.R. 2642) that passed the House on July 11, 2013.
 
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced S. 666 on April 8, 2013, and it was referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.  The Senate-passed Farm Bill—S. 954, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act—incorporated language similar to S. 666. S. 954 passed the Senate on June 10, 2013.
 
The final conference version of the Farm Bill—H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013—incorporated language similar to H.R. 366/S. 666. The House passed H.R. 2642 on Jan. 29, 2014, and the Senate passed it on Feb. 4, 2014.
 
AVMA Position: Active Pursuit of Passage
Primary Contact: Dr. Whitney Miller
 

 
H.R. 1094/S. 541, Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act of 2013
This legislation amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to prohibit the sale or transport of equines (horses and other members of the equidae family) or their parts (including flesh, meat, and viscera), and/or the importing or exporting of equines or their parts into or beyond the United States by any person who knows, or should have known, that such equines are to be slaughtered for human consumption as food.

Learn more in AVMA's issue brief on H.R. 1094/S. 541>>

Status: U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.-7) introduced H.R. 1094 on March 12, 2013, and it was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health, and to the House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit. U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) introduced S. 541 on March 12, 2013, and it was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
  
AVMA Position: Active Pursuit of Defeat
Primary Contact: Dr. Whitney Miller
 

 
H.R. 1518/S. 1406, Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act of 2013
This bill amends the Horse Protection Act (HPA) to designate additional unlawful acts with regard to the practice of soring horses. It also strengthens penalties for violations and improves USDA enforcement. Specific provisions include: defining an “action device” as any boot, collar, chain, roller, or other device that encircles or is placed upon the lower extremity of the leg of a horse; clarifying that the term “management” includes the sponsoring organization and the event manager; creating a penalty structure that requires horses to be disqualified for an increasing period of time based on the number of violations (from 180 days up to 3 years); requiring the USDA to license, train, assign and oversee inspectors who enforce the HPA; making the actual act of soring illegal and/or directing another person to cause a horse to become sore illegal; prohibiting the use of action devices on any limb of Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle Horses, or Racking Horses at horse shows, exhibitions, sales or auctions; banning the use of weighted shoes, pads, wedges, hoof bands, or other devices that are not strictly protective or therapeutic in nature; increasing civil and criminal penalties for violators; requiring a period of time where show horses are banned from participating in shows, exhibitions, sales or auctions for one or more violations; and disqualifying violators permanently upon their third or higher violation.

Learn more in AVMA's issue brief on H.R. 1518/S. 1406>>
 
Status: U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.-1) introduced H.R. 1518 on April 11, 2013, and it was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade. The subcommittee held a legislative hearing on Nov. 12, 2013, and AVMA’s Chief Executive and Executive Vice President Dr. Ron DeHaven testified.
 
On July 31, 2013, U.S. Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) introduced S. 1406 and it was referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
 
AVMA Position: Active Pursuit of Passage
Primary Contact: Dr. Whitney Miller
 

 
S. 1459, the Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2013
This bill amends Title 49 of the United States Code to prohibit the transportation of horses in interstate commerce in a motor vehicle (except a vehicle operated exclusively on rail or rails) containing two or more levels stacked on top of one another. The legislation also sets civil penalties for persons who knowingly violate the law.

Status: U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) introduced S. 1459 on Aug. 1, 2013, and it was referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

AVMA Position: Active Pursuit of Passage
Primary Contact: Dr. Whitney Miller
 
 
H.R. 4098, Horse Protection Amendments Act of 2013
H.R. 4098 amends the Horse Protection Act to create one governing body, the Horse Industry Organization or HIO, to manage the inspection and penalty process against “soring” horses throughout the entire walking horse show industry. The bill places requirements on what and how individuals are appointed to the single HIO board. It also changes what inspection methods can be used and what they can include.  AVMA is opposed to this legislation for several reasons, including: the bill fails to make the actual act of soring illegal; the bill does not improve enforcement because it retains and enhances the walking horse industry self-policing system; and it does not ban action devices and performance packages, which are known to exacerbate or hide signs of soring.
 

Status: Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.-7) introduced H.R. 4098 on Feb. 26, 2014, and it has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
 
AVMA Position: Active Pursuit of Defeat
Primary Contact: Dr. Whitney Miller
 

 
H.R. 183, Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act
This bill directs the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a pilot program that will assess the effectiveness of using service dogs to assist post-deployment mental health and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in veterans with disabilities as part of their therapy. The legislation requires that such a program be carried out within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ medical centers, which can provide training areas to carry out the program.
 
Status: U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.-11) introduced H.R. 183 on Jan. 4, 2013, and it was referred to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Subcommittee on Health.
 
AVMA Position: No Action   
Primary Contact: Dr. Whitney Miller
 

 
H.R. 847/ S. 395, Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act
This legislation amends the Animal Welfare Act to require the licensing and inspection of dog breeders who sell more than 50 dogs per year directly to the public. In addition, the legislation requires that dogs in commercial breeding facilities have the appropriate space and opportunity for daily exercise.
 
Status: U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.-6) introduced H.R. 847 on Feb. 27, 2013, and it was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced S. 395 on Feb. 27, 2013, and it was referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.
 
AVMA Position: Support
Primary Contact: Dr. Whitney Miller
 

 
H.R. 1731/S. 820, Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013
This legislation amends the Egg Products Inspection Act to provide a uniform standard for the housing and treatment of egg-laying hens. Provisions in the legislation include: directing a phase-in of required floor space and adequate environmental enrichments (known as “enriched colony housing”); placing a prohibition on how often farmers can withdraw feed and water to induce molting cycles in hens; setting the level of acceptable air quality as not more than 25ppm of ammonia; requiring the use of euthanasia methods that have been deemed “acceptable” by the American Veterinary Medical Association; setting labeling definitions that indicate the type of housing that the egg-laying hens were provided during egg production; and outlining the phase-in period for conversion to the new housing and enrichment standards.
 
Status: U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.-5) introduced H.R. 1731 on April 25, 2013, and it was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced S. 820 on April 25, 2013, and it was referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.
 
AVMA Position: Support
Primary Contact: Dr. Whitney Miller
 

 
H.R. 1998/S. 1381, Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act
This legislation’s stated goal is to further the conservation of certain wildlife species by amending the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, which was enacted as part of the Lacey Act. The bill would prohibit private possession of big cats except at certain facilities, such as accredited zoos. It requires any person who currently owns a big cat to register the animal with the U. S. Department of Agriculture in order to keep the cat in their possession. The bill would also outlaw the breeding of any big cat except at accredited zoos and research and educational institutions. Violators of the law could have their animals confiscated along with any vehicles or equipment used to aid in their illegal activity and could face penalties, including fines as much as $20,000, and up to five years in jail.

Status: U.S. Rep. Howard McKeon (R-Calif.-25) introduced H.R. 1998 on May 15, 2013, and it was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced S. 1381 on July 29, 2013, and it was referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

AVMA Position: Nonsupport
Primary Contact: Dr. Whitney Miller
 
 
H.R. 2158, Expedited Departure of Certain Snake Species Act
This bill requires a “qualified stop” of a covered snake (Burmese python, Indian python, Northern African python, Southern African python, and Yellow anaconda) to be treated as not occurring in interstate commerce for purposes of the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981. Currently, the export of these snakes may occur only through designated ports as defined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, so when an aircraft departs with an export from one of these ports, it may not land within the United States. HR 2158 would continue to allow for export from 17 designated ports. In addition, it would allow such carriers to make intermediate stops in other states prior to final departure within a 48-hour time period as long as secure containment protocols are maintained. The bill does not address interstate transport.
 
Status: U.S. Rep. John Fleming (R-La.-4) introduced H.R. 2158 on May 23, 2013, and it was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs.  The subcommittee held a legislative hearing on July 25, 2013.
 
AVMA Position: Nonsupport
Primary Contact: Dr. Whitney Miller
 

 
H.R. 2224, Pet Safety and Protection Act of 2013
This legislation amends the Animal Welfare Act to list permissible sources of dogs and cats used by research facilities to include dogs and cats obtained: (1) from a licensed dealer, (2) from a publicly owned and operated pound or shelter that meets specific requirements, (3) by donation from a person who bred and raised the dog or cat and owned it for no less than one year, or (4) from a research facility licensed by the Secretary of Agriculture.  It prohibits dealers from selling or otherwise providing any research facility with random-source dogs or cats unless specified requirements are met.
 
Status: U.S. Rep. Michael Doyle (D-Pa.-14) introduced H.R. 2224 on June 3, 2013, and it was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit.
 
AVMA Position: Nonsupport
Primary Contact: Dr. Whitney Miller
 

 
H.R. 2847, Wounded Warrior Service Dog Act of 2013
This bill establishes a grant program to encourage the use of assistance dogs by certain members of the Armed Forces and veterans with certain recognized disabilities.
 
Status: U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.-2) introduced H.R. 2847 on July 30, 2013, and it was referred to the House Committee on Armed Forces, Subcommittee on Readiness, and to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Subcommittee on Health.
 
AVMA Position: Support
Primary Contact: Dr. Whitney Miller
 

 
H.R. 2856/S. 1463, Captive Primate Safety Act
This bill amends the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 to add nonhuman primates to the definition of “prohibited wildlife species” for purposes of prohibiting the sale or purchase of such species in interstate and foreign commerce. The bill makes it unlawful for a person to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase a live animal of any prohibited wildlife species in interstate or foreign commerce (i.e., for pet trade purposes). It also sets exceptions to such prohibition, including, under certain conditions, for: (1) transporting a nonhuman primate to or from a veterinarian; (2) transporting a nonhuman primate to a legally designated caregiver as a result of the death of the preceding owner; and (3) transporting a single primate of the genus Cebus that was obtained from and trained by a charitable organization to assist a permanently disabled individual with a severe mobility impairment. The exception for the use of nonhuman primates as service animals conflicts directly with AVMA’s policy on Nonhuman Primates as Assistance Animals and indirectly with AVMA’s policy on Ownership or Possession of Wild Animals and their Hybrids.
 
Status: U.S. Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.-8) introduced H.R. 2856 on July 30, 2013, and it was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs.
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) introduced S. 1463 on Aug. 1, 2013, and it was referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
 
AVMA Position: Nonsupport
Primary Contact: Dr. Whitney Miller
 

 
H.R. 2891, Medical Waste Management Act of 2013
This bill would amend the Solid Waste Disposal Act to: (1) revise the definition of "medical waste;" (2) require the Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator to promulgate regulations listing the types of medical waste; and (3) require the EPA administrator to conduct a medical waste management program to protect human health and the environment from medical waste and promulgate regulations on tracking, labeling, packaging, storing, handling, monitoring, and disposing of medical waste. It requires those who generate medical waste to: (1) provide waste transporters with written assurance that the generator has complied with the EPA’s labeling, packaging, and storage requirements and a manifest form for its transportation; (2) register with the EPA administrator; and (3) provide the EPA administrator with the names of all waste transporters.
 
Status: U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.-6) introduced H.R. 2891 on July 31, 2013, and it was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy.
 
AVMA Position: Nonsupport
Primary Contact: Dr. Whitney Miller
 

 
H.R. 2935/S. 1005, Conservation Reform Act of 2013
The stated goal of this legislation is to “establish more efficient and effective policies and processes for departments and agencies engaged in or providing support to, international conservation.” Specifically, the bill directs: the Government Accountability Office to audit, and report to Congress on, existing U.S. international conservation policies and programs; the president to establish an Interagency Working Group on International Conservation; the establishment of the International Conservation Public Advisory Board; and the president to work with foreign assistance donor countries in several specific areas.
 
Status: U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.-1) introduced H.R. 2935 on Aug. 1, 2013, and it was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
 
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced S. 1005 on May 22, 2013, and it was referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
 
AVMA Position: No Action
Primary Contact: Dr. Whitney Miller
 
 
H.Res. 116, K-9 Veterans Day Resolution
This resolution expresses support for the designation of a K-9 Veterans Day and for efforts to recognize the service of military working dogs and their handlers.
 
Status: U.S. Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.-14) introduced H.Res. 116 on March 26, 2013, and it was referred to the House Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Military Personnel. 
 
AVMA Position: Support
Primary Contact: Dr. Whitney Miller
 

 
H. Res. 208, Expressing Opposition to Gas Chambers
This resolution expresses: (1) disapproval of the use of gas chambers to euthanize shelter animals and (2) support for the enactment of state laws requiring the use of euthanasia by injection with sodium pentobarbital as the standard method of euthanasia for all animal shelters. It encourages states to allow licensed shelters to purchase necessary euthanasia drugs, subject to appropriate training and certification.
 
Status: U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.-8) introduced H. Res. 208 on May 8, 2013, and it was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit.
 
AVMA Position: No Action
Primary Contact: Dr. Whitney Miller
 

 
Expected legislation: To amend the Animal Welfare Act to provide for the protection of birds, rats, and mice, and for other purposes.
This legislation designates an "animal" in the Animal Welfare Act as a bird, a rat of the genus Rattus, or a mouse of the genus Mus, which is being used, or is intended for use, as a pet or for research, testing, experimentation, or exhibition purposes.
 
Status: This legislation has not yet been introduced. 
 
AVMA Position: No Action
Primary Contact: Dr. Whitney Miller