Michael Markarian of the Humane Society Legislative Fund has posted a detailed rundown of the current administration's track record regarding animal-related legislation over the past nine months. We'll summarize some of the good and bad points here, but please feel free to read Markarian's report here.
As you know, the subject of puppy mills has been a big part of THLN's focus. The administration put forth a proposal against puppy mills that run without any "public oversight." While this is definitely a step in the right direction, the administration failed to support the ban of importing puppies from puppy mills outside of the United States. However, the current legislation has also proposed the expansion of animal-reporting requirements by air carriers and has forced a New York company to stop selling items made from the fur of domestic dogs.
This administration seems to support the end of using chimpanzees in medical research; it has considered listing captive chimps on the endangered species list and has put together a group to investigate a report that chimps are not necessary for biomedical research. Unfortunately, President Obama's administration has also seemed to complicate the adoption of the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act that would effectively end the use of chimpanzees in "invasive research" and send all chimps owned by the federal government to sanctuaries.
The Obama Administration is hit or miss when it comes to farm animals. It has made it easier for employees and stakeholders to report the inhumane handling of farm animals and investigated a Florida company that was inhumanely slaughtering pigs; that company was then indicted. On the negative side, this administration has given hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to meat producers without including any animal welfare conditions and, after three and a half years, has still not taken a stance on the Humane Society's "downer calf petition". This administration is also so/so regarding wildlife as it cracked down on illegal trade in animals and animal parts on the black market, but still continues to use inhumane methods to control wild predators.
Marine life has seen more positives than negatives from this administration. Protections for manatees have been improved. The administration has proposed a rule to help conserve sharks across the world and has tried to help protect dolphins from getting caught in mesh netting. Sea lions and whales have not been so lucky under the current administration, however. It approved more than four hundred sea lions to be killed at the Bonneville Dam and has not revised the critical habitat for North Atlantic right whales.
Horses have also been a major THLN focus recently. Horses have perhaps seen the most positives under the current administration's legislation. Minimum penalties for Horse Protection Act violations have been set. Horse slaughter plants have not been authorized. A fertility control vaccine for wild horses has been improved and other fertility control measures will be investigated. And, thankfully, Obama's administration has proposed a very large eco-sanctuary for wild horses. This administration's one negative regarding horses: it has allowed the use of problematic round-up procedures for over seven thousand horses.
Markarian has also posted a blog about how our legislators have voted regarding animal-related issues this legislative session. You can read the blog and link to a preview of HSLF's scorecard here. There are still four issues that need attention before Congress breaks until after the election. One, S. 3239 and H.R. 3798, will provide uniform standards for the treatment and housing of egg-laying hens. S. 810 and H.R. 1513, the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act, mentioned above, will help to end the practice of using chimpanzees in "invasive research". H.R. 2492 will create penalties for attending organized animal fights. And S. 707 and H.R. 835 will help to reform conditions in puppy mills. You can take action now by contacting your legislators and urging them to support these bills. Do you know who your legislators are? If not, click here to find out!
How do you feel about government's performance in animal-related issues? With the Presidential election coming up in only a couple of months, it will be interesting to see what changes may come with animal-related legislation. And no matter who wins that election, THLN will continue to push for humane legislation for all of the animals across Texas and the United States. Are you interested in helping us? Donate now or consider joining a local chapter! And don't forget about our Fourth Annual Conference coming up on September 28th and 29th! Register today to attend and click here for more information.