Federal Bills: Sampling of Important Bills Pending Before Congress
14 Feb. 2012
Federal Bills: Sampling of Important Bills Pending Before Congress
For more information about these and other animal related bills, including actual copies of the bills, go to http://Thomas.loc.gov. You will be able to see if your federal legislators are sponsoring the bills. This site also provides the names of your two US senators and congressman/woman, including contact information. Just click on House of Representatives and Senate and provide your zip code. Tell your representatives of your support and urge them to co-sponsor these measures.
“Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act”
H.R. 3359 states that traveling circuses are detrimental to animal welfare and that due to severe confinement, lack of exercise, and the restriction of natural behaviors, animals in circuses suffer from health, behavioral, and psychological problems. This bill further states that tricks that exotic and non-domesticated animals are forced to perform require extreme physical coercion, including food restriction and the use of elephant hooks, to control and punish the elephants, electric shocks, metal bars, whips, and other forms of physical abuse. The legislation also states that animals in traveling circuses pose risks to public safety and that due to the transitory nature of traveling circuses, it is difficult for law enforcement authorities to properly monitor conditions of the animals.
This bill provides that exhibitors may not allow for the participation of an exotic or wild animal in an animal act if during the 15-day period preceding such participation, the animal was traveling in a mobile housing facility.
For more information about circus animal abuse, see:
USDA fines Ringling Bros. Circus over treatment of animals
By Leigh Remizowski, CNN
updated 7:20 PM EST, Tue November 29, 2011
The lawsuit alleged that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus systematically abuses and exploits elephants.
- Circus owner violated the Animal Welfare Act, regulators say
- Feld Entertainment agrees to pay $270,000 but admits no wrongdoing
- The company agrees to a new training protocol for animal handlers
(CNN) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture has slapped the parent company of the "Greatest Show on Earth" with a record penalty for alleged animal rights violations.
Feld Entertainment Inc., which produces the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, has agreed to pay $270,000 for allegedly violating the Animal Welfare Act on several occasions from June 2007 to August 2011, according to a USDA news release.
The USDA can levy fines of up to $10,000 per violation of the act.
"This settlement sends a direct message to the public and to those who exhibit animals that USDA will take all necessary steps to protect animals regulated under the Animal Welfare Act," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in the release.
Feld Entertainment officials settled in lieu of a hearing and agreed to implement new training protocols for any circus employees who handle animals, the statement said.
"We look forward to working with the USDA in a cooperative and transparent manner that meets our shared goal of ensuring that our animals are healthy and receive the highest quality care," Kenneth Feld, the company's CEO, said in a separate statement.
As part of the settlement, the company admits no wrongdoing or violation of USDA policy.
The settlement comes in the wake of a federal appeals court dismissal of a lawsuit against Feld Entertainment filed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Animal Protection Institute.
The lawsuit alleged that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is in violation of the Endangered Species Act and that the circus systematically abuses and exploits elephants by using metal bullhooks to guide and control the animals, as well as chaining their legs while they are not performing.
The lawsuit was dismissed in October on the grounds that the two animal protection organizations did not have the standing to bring the lawsuit against Feld Entertainment because they could not establish legal "injury" to themselves.
Also see: www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbdIZ0d9iNE
Sportsman in Hunting Act: H.R. 2210
Prohibits persons from knowingly transporting or possessing a confined exotic animal for the purpose of allowing such animal to be killed or injured for entertainment or for the collection of a trophy when such action affects interstate and foreign commerce. Also prohibits persons from using any instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce to knowingly make available a computer-assisted remote hunt. Some states have laws banning canned hunts and Internet hunting but a federal law is needed to more effectively stop these cruel practices.
American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act: S. 1176/ H.R. 2966
As a result of legislation which reinstates federal funding for USDA horsemeat inspections, horse slaughter may resume in the United States. Horse slaughter in the United States has been banned for the last five years.
The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, by banning the interstate transport of horses for slaughter and the live export of horses for slaughter, would stop the horrific slaughter of American horses. Despite the closing of horse slaughterhouses in the United States a few years ago after the USDA did not get funding for inspections, American horses have still been slaughtered for consumption. They continue to be transported long distances to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada.
Interstate Horseracing Improvement Act: H.R. 1733
Prohibits the use of performance enhancing drugs in the horseracing industry. The use of performance enhancing drugs is not permitted in most countries outside of the United States. According to NY State Senator Thomas Duane, who introduced similar legislation in the NYS Legislature, “We ban all other athletes in every other sport from taking performance enhancing drugs both for their safety and to maintain the integrity of their sports. Yet we embrace the idea of dispensing Lasix to horses so they won’t have a nosebleed or develop blood in their lungs during a big race. This is unacceptable.”
Horse Transportation Safety Act: S. 1281
Prohibits the interstate transportation of horses in a motor vehicle which contains two or more levels stacked on top of one another. Trailers with two or more levels do not meet minimum height requirements for the humane transport of horses and jeopardize the health and safety of the horses.
Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act of 2011: S. 810/H.R. 1513
Phases out invasive research and testing on chimpanzees in laboratories, prohibits the transport of great apes for invasive research, prohibits the breeding of great apes for invasive research, prohibits federal funding for invasive research on great apes, and requires that great apes who are owned by or under the control of the federal government be permanently retired to a sanctuary. Currently, there are approximately 1000 chimpanzees housed in laboratories in the United States and more than ½ of these chimpanzees are owned by the federal government.
Great Ape Conservation Reauthorization Amendments Act: H.R. 1760
Amends the Great Ape Conservation Act of 2000 to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to award a multiyear grant to an eligible person to implement a great ape conservation project that the person demonstrates is an effective, long-term conservation strategy for great apes and their habitats.
Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act of 2011: H.R. 2492/S. 1947
Provides that it shall be unlawful to attend or cause a minor to attend an animal fighting venture. Spectators who pay admission fees and gamble on the fights enable animal fighting ventures to thrive. Animal fighting causes pain, suffering and death to the dogs and to the animals used to train the dogs. To stop animal fighting, it is so important that all those who participate, including spectators, be prosecuted. While many states, including New York, have laws holding spectators accountable, some of these laws do not contain sufficient penalties. A federal law will also increase enforcement.
Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act: H.R. 835 and S. 707
Provides that high volume retail breeders (this would include persons who own one or more female breeding dogs and who sell or offer for sale more than 50 of the offspring of such dogs for use as pets in any one year period) must be licensed and adhere to standards of care, including exercise requirements. This would close a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act which has been interpreted to exclude from coverage breeders who sell directly to the public.
Battlefield Excellence through Superior Training Practices Act: H.R. 403
Bans the use of animals for training the military. The Department of Defense uses live monkeys, goats and pigs. Alternative methods have been developed and validated.
Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act: H.R. 1643
Requires each public building constructed, altered, or acquired by the Administrator of General Services to incorporate bird-safe building materials and design features. Also directs the Administrator to incorporate such materials and features into existing public buildings and to address the impacts of interior and exterior lighting on native bird species. Death from collisions with man-made structures is one of the most serious sources of avian mortality.
Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012: H.R. 3798
Provides that all existing caging devices must provide egg-laying hens adequate environmental enrichments beginning fifteen years after the enactment of the law and that new caging devices must provide egg laying hens with adequate environmental enrichments beginning nine years after the enactment of the law. The law defines adequate environment enrichments to mean adequate perch space, dust bathing or scratching areas, and nest space. The bill bans forced molting, the practice of preventing food and water intake for the purpose of inducing egg-laying hens to molt. The bill also provides for more descriptive labeling on egg cartons to distinguish between eggs from free range hens, cage free hens, from hens raised in enriched cages, and from caged hens who did not have adequate environmental enrichments or a specified amount of floor space.
Marine Mammal Protection Amendment Act: S. 1402
Amends the Marine Mammal Protection Act to increase the penalties for knowingly violating the provisions against the taking or importation of marine mammals.