2023 Budget Predicts Progress for Animals

June 17, 2022

two horses in a field at sunset

Great news for animals!  This week, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee introduced a draft of its bill to fund the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for fiscal year 2023. We are thrilled to share that it contains several ASPCA-supported measures that will help improve the lives of animals for years to come. 

Victory for American Horses

For the first time, the bill’s draft calls for a permanent ban on the slaughter of horses within the U.S., marking an exciting milestone in our fight to protect American's equines! 

A prohibition on federal funding of American slaughterhouses has been in place since 2007, but it must be renewed annually, and this puts American horses at risk each year. In a demonstration of broad bipartisan support, more than 100 members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter advocating for a permanent ban on horse slaughter. 

The bill also allocates over $4 million to improve enforcement of the Horse Protection Act, which bans “soring”—the horrific practice of intentionally inflicting pain to show-horses’ legs and hooves to illicit an unnatural, exaggerated gait. The bill requires the USDA to use these funds to ensure that agency officials are inspecting horses at shows and enforcing the law.

Battling Bad Breeders

The bill contains clear language to reform the USDA’s approach to enforcing the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). For decades, the agency has failed to uphold its responsibility to protect animal welfare, and instead prioritized the interests of puppy mill operators, animal exhibitors, animal transporters and animal testing laboratories. The ASPCA has been urging the USDA to treat animal welfare violations in puppy mills seriously and shut down violators, instead of turning a blind eye to chronic cruelty. We are thrilled that the subcommittee included language in the bill that will prevent funds from being used on ineffective and harmful policies and to ensure that future violations are documented. 

Progress for People and Pets

The subcommittee dedicated $3 million of additional funding for a critical grant program that allows people escaping domestic violence to co-house with their pets. 

Your Advocacy Efforts Made a Difference

Thank you for answering our calls to action and urging your lawmakers to support these measures—you have made a difference! However, our work to secure these victories is not over yet; this bill’s draft awaits a vote in the full Appropriations Committee and will then head to the Senate. We must make sure that these lifesaving proposals are included in the final bill. 

Contact your legislators today to ask for their support on important spending measures to protect animals, including dogs in puppy mills, horses who may become at risk of slaughter, farmed animals deserving of better lives, and pets caught up in domestic violence cases.