The AVMA Executive Board this June acted on a slate of federal legislation concerning veterinarians or animal health and welfare in a wide range of areas, including dog breeding, student debt, layer hen standards, and agrosecurity. The Legislative Advisory Committee made recommendations on more than 30 bills. Following is a sample of that legislation and related AVMA positions approved by the Executive Board.
Prevent All Soring Tactics Act (H.R. 1518): The bill would amend the Horse Protection Act to designate additional violations under the law for soring of show horses to exaggerate gait, strengthen penalties, and serve other purposes. The legislation defines an illegal “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. Another provision would make illegal the actual act of soring or directing another person to cause a horse to become sore. The AVMA has taken a position of active pursuit of passage.
- Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (H.R. 1150): The bill would purportedly preserve the effectiveness of eight classes of medically important antimicrobials by prohibiting their nontherapeutic use in food-producing animals. The AVMA has taken a position of active pursuit of defeat. The AVMA remains opposed to any legislation that would limit a veterinarian’s ability to prevent, control, and treat diseases in animals.
- Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments (S. 820/H.R. 1731): The bill would set federal standards for caging of layer hens. The phase-in would occur over the next 18 years. It would also set standards for acceptable air quality, molting, floor space, environmental enrichments, and euthanasia methods. Criteria are also set out for enforcement and reporting to Congress on implementation. This legislation is the result of an agreement reached in 2011 between the United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States. The proposed standards, if enacted, would be the first federal standards addressing on-the-farm animal care and welfare. The legislation is supported by the American Association of Avian Pathologists. The AVMA has taken a position of support.
- Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act (S. 395/H.R. 847): The PUPS bill would amend the Animal Welfare Act to require licensing and inspection of dog breeders who sell more than 50 dogs per year directly to the public. In addition, the legislation would require that dogs in commercial breeding facilities have appropriate space and opportunity for daily exercise. The AVMA has taken a position of support.
- Animal and Public Health Protection Act (S. 859): The bill would amend the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 to support activities related to detecting and responding to animal health threats. The measure would also authorize $15 million for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network. The AVMA has taken a position of active pursuit of passage.
- Marketplace Fairness Act (S. 743 / H.R. 684): The bill would close a loophole that benefits online retailers over local brick-and-mortar stores by forcing online retailers to collect sales tax at the time of a transaction. The bill would exempt small businesses that earn less than $1 million annually from out-of-state sales. “Remote sale” is defined as a sale of goods or services into a state in which the seller would not legally be required to pay, collect, or remit state or local sales and use taxes unless provided for by this act. The AVMA has taken a position of support.
- Earnings Contingent Education Loans Act (H.R. 1716): The bill establishes the Income Dependent Education Assistance Loan Program. Borrowers would pay a percentage of their discretionary income toward their student loan balance until the obligation was repaid. IDEA loans would require income-contingent repayment for all borrowers through a system of withholdings from earnings by the Internal Revenue Service, similar to federal tax withholdings. Repayment obligation would be 15 percent of income above 150 percent of the poverty line for the borrower’s household size, as reported in exemptions on the tax return. Income includes salary, wages, and other income above $3,000. Like federal income tax, withholding would be based on projected earnings and remitted by the employer to the IRS. The AVMA has taken a position of support.
A list of these and other bills, and the AVMA position on each, is posted here.