Final Appropriations Bills Contain Groundbreaking New Protections for Animals!

December 17, 2019

Woman with puppy

Update—December 20, 2019: Exciting news! The President has signed the final 2020 federal spending bill, which includes significant protections for animals.

The ASPCA fought for increased protections for wild and domestic horses, dogs in puppy mills, victims of animal fighting, and domestic violence survivors and their pets. Our efforts were bolstered by advocates like you, so thank you for fighting alongside us for these key reforms.

We thank congressional leaders for including these new protections for animals in the package released today:

  • An additional $21 million of funding allotted for wild horses and burros, along with language aimed at shifting the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro program away from taking horses off the range in favor of maximizing on-range treatment and humane care of horses. This will enable these herds to live wild and free for future generations without threat of sale to slaughter or mass killing management strategies.
  • Entirely new protections against slaughter for wild horses and burros on U.S. Forest Service land, as well as continued protections on lands managed by the BLM.
  • Increased oversight of animal businesses by the USDA. The bill directs the USDA to immediately restore its database of animal welfare records, allowing the public to once again see whether puppy mills, zoos and animal research labs are complying with the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act and whether the USDA is enforcing the law. It also requires the USDA to record all citations on inspection reports, ending its current approach of using weak enforcement alternatives like “teachable moments,” which conceal the licensee’s violation history and allow them to stay in business.
  • Direction for the Department of Justice to report to Congress on its animal fighting and other animal welfare crimes prosecution program.
  • $2 million for a lifesaving grant program to keep domestic violence survivors and their pets together.

We applaud Congress for working to protect animals through the funding process and are excited to celebrate these victories.

To advocate for other important animal welfare provisions, join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade.