U.S. Senate Passes 2020 Spending Bill: How Does It Impact Animals?

November 1, 2019

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed a spending bill that includes critical policies to help animals. We are particularly pleased that the Senate bill seeks to protect wild and domestic horses, as well as domestic violence survivors and their pets. 

The Senate-passed 2020 spending bill contains several victories for animal welfare, including:

  • Horse Slaughter: A prohibition on funding for the operation of horse slaughterhouses in the U.S.
  • Horse Soring: Consistent funding to enforce the Horse Protection Act, a law aimed at preventing the cruel practice of “soring.” Soring is the use of chemicals and devices to inflict pain on show horses to force an exaggerated, high-stepping gait often referred to as the “Big Lick.”
  • Companion Animal Protection: Continuing the longstanding ban on funding cruel Class-B animal dealers who sell stray dogs and cats to research labs.
  • Pets and Victims of Violence: An amendment introduced by Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) provides new funding to implement the PAWS Act, an existing law that aims to help domestic violence survivors and their pets.
  • Non-Lethal Wild Horse Management: A robust $35 million funding increase for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro program to enable an effective, humane and non-lethal management strategy. The ASPCA-supported management proposal will balance wild horse and burro populations over the next decade without the need to resort to lethal methods.
  • Protections for Wild Horses: A longstanding provision that prevents the BLM from killing healthy horses or selling them to slaughter.

While the ASPCA is encouraged to see the Senate include the provisions above, the spending bill that the U.S. House of Representatives bill passed earlier this year contains several additional protections for animals that should be included as Congress finalizes the bill over the next few weeks.

The House version requires better reporting of the conditions at puppy mills, will stop efforts to remove slaughter line speed limits for pigs, and prevents the U.S. Forest Service from killing or selling wild horses and burros for slaughter. We will continue to urge Congress to include all of these animal protection measures as it weighs these different bills to pass a final spending package.

Now’s the time to speak up—you can have a say in our nation’s animal policies! Please contact your members of Congress here using our easy online form. Your voice matters.