Late last night, the U.S. House Agriculture Committee approved an amendment to the House Farm Bill to strengthen our nation’s laws against animal fighting. The amendment, introduced by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), would make attending an organized animal fight a federal offense and impose additional penalties for bringing a child to an animal fight. This amendment is similar to the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, standalone legislation with strong bipartisan support from 147 cosponsors introduced by Reps. Tom Marino (R-PA), John Campbell (R-CA), Jim Moran (D-VA) and McGovern.
“Animal fights are cruel and gruesome spectacles where animals are exploited and forced to fight as their owners profit from their torture,” said Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations. “Children need protection from the dangerous culture of animal fighting, as well as its associated illegal activities such as drugs, weapons and gambling. The ASPCA applauds Representative McGovern and all our Congressional leaders for their continued leadership in strengthening laws to combat animal fighting and protect public safety.”
While clearing the House Agriculture Committee is a major success, we can’t declare victory just yet. The U.S. Senate’s version of the Farm Bill also includes the anti-animal fighting provisions, but both bills still must pass in their chambers of origin. Once that is achieved, the House and Senate have to reconcile any language differences prior to full passage.
We’d like to thank all the representatives on the House Agriculture Committee who voted to include the animal fighting spectator prohibition language in the House Farm Bill. If you see your rep in the list below, tell him or her thank you! You can find your rep’s contact info here.
Michelle Lujan Grisham
Ann McLane Kuster
Sean Patrick Maloney
Please be a voice for animals—join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade and we’ll let you know when it’s time to contact members of Congress about this and other important animal-related bills.
In an exciting victory for animals and advocates in the Lone Star State, Texas legislators have passed a law prohibiting the use of gas chambers to euthanize animals. Sponsored by Senator Kirk Watson, this new law, which became effective immediately upon Governor Rick Perry’s signature on May 10, will also protect shelter workers from dangerous exposure to carbon monoxide.
The ASPCA partnered with the Texas Humane Legislation Network to help ensure this critical legislation passed during the current session. The new law makes sodium pentobarbital injection, also referred to as euthanasia by injection (EBI), the state’s only approved method of euthanasia. Euthanasia by injection takes effect faster, acts more reliably and causes less pain and trauma than gas.
In situations where euthanasia must be administered, it should be done with compassion and care, which gas chambers do not provide. We applaud Governor Perry and Senator Watson, as well as all of our Texas Advocates, for taking this important step for animals.
This morning, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam vetoed his state’s dangerous anti-whistleblower/“ag-gag” bill, Senate Bill 1248/House Bill 1191. This is a major victory for animal welfare and consumer safety—if signed into law, this legislation would have thwarted investigations of agricultural enterprises and protected animal abusers instead of working to prevent such mistreatment.
Governor Haslam’s veto comes just days after Tennessee’s Attorney General declared the legislation “constitutionally suspect under the First Amendment on three grounds” and noted that it could violate a person’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Animal abusers in Tennessee have good reason to want to keep their cruel and illegal actions out of sight. While most states exempt farm animals from their animal cruelty statues entirely, last year Tennessee passed a bill, spearheaded by the ASPCA, to make extreme acts of cruelty to livestock subject to felony-level penalties.
Investigations on farms have been extremely successful in documenting the inhumane treatment of animals, uncovering crucial health and welfare information and spurring many groundbreaking reforms. If Tennessee’s ag-gag bill had become law, the cruelty revealed by these types of investigations—such as the gruesome beating and soring of Tennessee Walking Horses disclosed last year—would remain hidden from the public.
We thank Governor Haslam for listening to the citizens of Tennessee and preventing this harmful and unnecessary bill from becoming law. We also applaud and thank our Tennessee Advocates, local humane organizations, and groups representing other interests (including civil liberties, journalism, religion, food safety and the environment) put at risk by this bill for their support in fighting it!
Where does your state stand on anti-whistleblower legislation? Find out here, and be sure to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade so you can take action on current animal-related bills in your state!
Animal advocates, this is major: The ASPCA is working closely with Connecticut legislators, The Humane Society of the U.S., CT Votes for Animals and the CT Coalition Against Puppy Mills to enact a bill pending that—if amended in the Connecticut House of Representatives, as hoped—would prohibit pet stores from selling commercially bred dogs and cats! Instead, starting in 2016, Connecticut pet stores will be allowed to sell and/or adopt out only dogs and cats who came from animal shelters and non-profit rescue organizations.
If the hoped-for bipartisan amendment to H.B. 5027 succeeds, Connecticut will become the first state in the nation to enact this kind of law.
Passage of this measure would deliver a devastating blow to puppy mills, all while helping to reduce pet overpopulation in shelters. Talk about a win-win!
It’s Be Kind to Animals Week, and we’re asking everyone to donate 10 minutes to help animals in need. In fact, you can do these four simple actions right from your seat!
Join the Advocacy Brigade Sign up for the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to receive important alerts when we need your help lobbying for laws against animal cruelty.
Help Fight Puppy Mills Most pet store puppies come from puppy mills. Take the pledge that you'll never shop in a store that sells puppies—even if you're just buying food or toys. This simple action will help put puppy mills out of business for good!
Show Your Virtual Support Dedicate your Facebook status, Tweet or blog post to a homeless animal. And if you haven’t already, join us on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter to keep track of breaking animal welfare news!
Call Your Local Shelter Grab your cell phone and call your local animal shelter. From walking dogs to organizing fundraising events, shelters across the country could really use the help—even if you can’t make a long-term commitment.
Got more ideas? Tweet them using the hashtag #Kind2Animals!