By Dr. Whitney Miller, assistant director, Governmental Relations Division
A few controversial pieces of legislation concerning animal welfare saw action in the Senate in the month of July.
On July 25th, the Environment and Public Works Committee reported favorably on S. 810, the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act. This bill’s goal is to end all ‘invasive’ research on great apes. It also requires retirement of all federally-owned great apes within 3 years. The AVMA is opposed to this legislation because the bill does not include a funding mechanism for the long-term care of animals that will be placed into permanent retirement and because research focused on improving the health and welfare of affected species that is currently being conducted in zoological settings may be hindered. The bill was amended before passage to address some of the findings of the Institute of Medicine panel report on the Use of Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research. However, these amendments do not appear adequate to address concerns of future needs for chimpanzees in research following forced retirement.
Also, on July 26th, the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee held a hearing on S. 3239, the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012. This bill would create a uniform national standard for the housing and treatment of egg-laying hens. Panelists included Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), who introduced the bill, and several egg producers. One producer, Mr. Amon Bauer, spoke out in opposition to the legislation. The AVMA is supportive of this legislation, and was mentioned several times during the hearing. Chairwoman Stabenow (D-MI) did not indicate any further movement or next steps for this legislation. You can view more information on this hearing here and AVMA’s resources on the welfare of layer hens here.
For more information please contact wmilleravma [dot] org (Dr. Whitney Miller), assistant director, AVMA Governmental Relations Division.