Federal Legislation

Bills We Support:

S. 503 Animal Welfare Accountability and Transparency Act
This bill would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture to publish reports of enforcement actions taken under the Animal Welfare Act and Horse Protection Act. A House version is to be filed. Read more on this issue.

Status: 03/2/2017 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance
MA Cosponsors: none, as of 3/7/2017

H.R.1368 – To require the Secretary of Agriculture to make publicly available certain regulatory records relating to the administration of the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for the use of an alternative depreciation system for taxpayers violating rules under the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act, and for other purposes.

Status: 03/06/2017 Referred to House Energy and Commerce
MA Cosponsors: Representative Keating

H.R. 159 To expand the workforce of veterinarians specialized in the care and conservation of wild animals and their ecosystems, and to develop educational programs focused on wildlife and zoological veterinary medicine
This bill would help create new funded positions for wildlife and zoological veterinarians and reduce the amount of educational debt for veterinary medicine students. It would also help expand the number of training programs in wildlife or zoological veterinary medicine for veterinary students.

  • Status: 01/13/2017 Referred to the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture
  • MA Cosponsors: None as of 01/31/2017

H.R. 113 Safeguard American Food Exports Act of 2017
This bill amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to regard equine parts to be an unsafe food additive or animal drug. The bill prohibits the knowing sale or transport of equines or equine parts for human consumption.

  • Status: 01/13/17 Referred to the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture
  • MA Cosponsors: Rep. Niki Tsongas

H.R. 458 Preserve Our Lakes and Keep Our Environment Safe Act
This bill requires the Department of Transportation to conduct a study in regards to the economic and environmental risks that an oil or hazardous liquid spill would pose to the Great Lakes ecosystem.

  • Status: 01/11/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce
  • MA Cosponsors: None as of 01/31/2017

H.R. 227 Multinational Species Conservation Funds Reauthorization Act
This bill would reauthorize the African Elephant Conservation Act, the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994, the Asian Elephant Conservation Act of 1997, the Great Ape Conservation Act of 2000, and the Marine Turtle Conservation Act of 2004, with amendments made to each act.

  • Status: 01/03/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources
  • MA Cosponsors: None as of 01/31/2017

H.R. 398 “HEART” Act of 2017 (Help Extract Animals from Red Tape Act)
This bill would amend Title 18, United States Code, in regards to civil forfeitures relating to certain seized animals. It would require defendants to reimburse the costs of caring for animals seized in federal animal fighting cases. This would also help animals find homes faster because it will quicken the court process, allowing them to be rehabilitated faster.

  • Status: 1/10/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
  • MA Cosponsors: None as of 1/31/2017

H.R. 816 FACT Act (Federal Accountability in Chemical Testing Act)
This bill would amend the ICCVAM Authorization Act of 2000 to improve reporting about animal testing and alternative test method use by Federal agencies. The amendments would be in regards to the “Reporting Requirements” and “Provision of Information” sections.

  • Status: 02/02/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
  • MA Cosponsors: None as of 02/12/17

S. 322/H.R. 909 Pet and Women Safety Act of 2017
The PAWS Act will provide additional protections for the animals of victims of domestic violence.  It prohibits persons from committing the offenses of interstate stalking and interstate violation of protection order against pets.  It grants restitution for veterinary costs caused by the offender and provides grants for emergency and transitional pet shelter and housing assistance for victims of domestic violence.

  • Status S. 322: 02/07/17 Referred to Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
  • Status H.R. 909: 02/07/17 Referred to House Agriculture
  • MA Cosponsors: H.R. 909 Rep. William Keating, Rep. Stephen Lynch, Rep. Niki Tsongas, Rep. Seth Moulton, Rep. James McGovern, Rep. Michael Capuano, Rep. Joseph Kennedy, Rep. Richard Neal

S. 498/H.R. 1243 Battlefield Excellence through Superior Training Practices Act
The BEST Practices Act requires the Department of Defense to complete development, testing, and validation of human-based training methods to train members of the Armed Forces to treat combat trauma injuries by October 2020. The goal of this act is to replace live animal-based training methods by October 2022.

  • Status S. 498: 03/02/2017 Read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on Armed Services
  • Status H.R. 1243: 02/28/17 Referred to the House Committee on Armed Services
  • MA Cosponsors: H.R. 1243 Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. Niki Tsongas, Rep. James McGovern, Rep. Joseph Kennedy, Rep. William Keating

Bills We Oppose:

H.R.225  Restoration of the U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Conservation Fund Act
H.R. 224 Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act
These bills would amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to allow for the importation of polar bear trophies taken during sport hunts in Canada. The polar bear population is currently at 20,000 to 25,000 bears and having a permit fee to allow the importation of polar bears will “invigorate the public-private funding partnership for the United States-Russian Polar Bear Conservation Fund.” The International Union for Conservation of Nature has found that hunting may assist in furthering conservation objectives by creating revenue and economic incentives.

  • Status H.R. 225: 01/03/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources
  • Status H.R. 224: 01/03/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources
  • MA Cosponsors: None as of 1/23/17

H.R.226 African Elephant Conservation and Legal Ivory Possession Act
This bill would reauthorize the African Elephant Conservation Act (AECA) through FY2022. Under this Act, ivory may be imported under AECA and the Endangered Species Act if the ivory is only to be given to a museum; the ivory was lawfully imported into the United States on February 24, 2014; or the ivory was previously lawfully possessed in the United States.

  • Status: 01/03/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.
  • MA Cosponsors: None as of 1/23/17

H.J.R. 69 Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule of the Department of the Interior relating to “Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska”
This resolution seeks to repeal an Obama-era rule against killing large predators, such as bears and wolves, on Alaskan national wildlife refuges. This would allow for the use of antiquated, violent methods of trapping and killing animals, such as by use of steel-jawed leghold traps.

  • Status: Passed in the House 02/16/17; Received in Senate
  • MA Cosponsors: None as of 02/22/17

For more information:

  • If your Senator/Congressperson has not signed on to a good bill (to support), please contact him/her and ask him/her to sign on as a co-sponsor.
  • To see a list of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation in the 115th Congress, click here
  • To find out who represents you and how to contact your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators, visit http://www.wheredoivotema.com/
  • To see how the MA Congressional Delegation has scored in previous sessions of Congress, see the Humane Society Legislative Fund’s scorecards
  • To check on the status of a bill or to read the text, go to congress.gov