Congress Budgets for Measures to Protect Animals

March 10, 2022

Huskie and Horse

Update March 15, 2022—After passing the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, President Biden signed the federal omnibus Appropriations Bill for the 2022 fiscal year into law. Here’s what you need to know, and how this bill will impact critical animal welfare initiatives.

What is an Omnibus Appropriations Bill?

An omnibus is a fancy word for a giant annual spending bill that outlines funding for all the departments and agencies of the federal government. It includes funding decisions addressing everything from defense spending to healthcare, tax provisions to cybersecurity, and, yes, animal welfare!

When the Appropriations Bill was released by House and Senate negotiators this week, our team jumped to work to review the elements of the bill that we influenced and compile a summary for you.

Here are the key animal welfare takeaways:

Puppy Mills

Critical for transparency and cruelty prevention, the bill continues to require the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to post important inspection and enforcement records going forward. Through the report accompanying the bill, Congress—which directs the USDA to fulfill its responsibilities under the Animal Welfare Act—expresses concern about major welfare issues stemming from the USDA’s repeated failure to properly inspect commercial breeding facilities and address violations, and directs the agency to do better. Take action today—ask your legislators to support Goldie’s Act, a bill that will require better protection for dogs in puppy mills!

Equine Protection

The bill continues to prohibit horse slaughter in the United States. Furthermore, the omnibus will provide more than $3 million to enforce the Horse Protection Act, a federal law that prohibits sored horses—those who have been intentionally hurt with chemical irritants or painful mechanical devices to perform an exaggerated gait—from participating in shows, exhibitions, sales or auctions. We are excited that horses will continue to be protected against these cruel and inhumane systems, but our work is far from over. Help us pass the SAFE Act this year to further protect horses!

A win for wild horses and burros, the Appropriations Bill also continues to prohibit lethal management of wild equine populations and provides a significant increase in funding compared to last year, with an additional $21 million dedicated to the Wild Horse and Burro program. The additional funding will be used to implement a multi-tiered management plan and scale up safe and humane fertility control to keep these magnificent animals safe on and off the range. Learn more about the ASPCA’s commitment to wild horses.

Dog Imports

The ASPCA works hard to support laws and regulations that ensure the health and safety of pets entering this country. We were thrilled to see that the omnibus Appropriations Bill will provide $1 million for the USDA to increase its oversight of dogs imported into the U.S. We hope this allocation will help the agency prevent the import of dogs from foreign breeders or other sources who may arrive without the necessary paperwork and vaccinations. Additionally, we hope the USDA will work with agencies like Customs and Border Patrol and the Centers for Disease Control to provide safe rehoming for any dogs who are abandoned after import.

Visit the ASPCA’s Advocacy Center to see a list of current, actionable alerts, where your voice will make a difference and improve laws for animals.