Federal Legislation

Bills We Support:

S. 503/H.R. 1368 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. Read more on this issue.

  • Status S. 503: 03/02/2017 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance
  • Status H.R. 1368: 03/23/2017 Referred to the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture
  • MA Cosponsors: H.R. 1638 Rep. William Keating, Rep. Stephen Lynch

H.R. 1141 Pet Safety and Protection Act of 2017
This bill would amend the Animal Welfare Act to ensure that all dogs and cats used by research facilities are obtained legally.

  • Status: 03/10/2017 Referred to the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture
  • MA Cosponsors: Rep. James McGovern, Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. Niki Tsongas, Rep. Stephen Lynch

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: 02/10/2017 Referred to House Agriculture; Subcommittee on Federal Lands
  • MA Cosponsors: None as of 03/31/2017

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: 01/25/2017 Referred to House Energy and Commerce; Agriculture; Subcommittee on Health
  • MA Cosponsors: Rep. Niki Tsongas, Rep. Katherine Clark

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: 02/10/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources; Subcommittee on Federal Lands
  • MA Cosponsors: None as of 03/31/2017

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: 02/06/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary; Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations
  • MA Cosponsors: None as of 03/31/2017

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: 02/03/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; Subcommittee on Health
  • MA Cosponsors: Rep. William Keating, Rep. Niki Tsongas

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: 02/07/2017 Referred to Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
  • Status H.R. 909: 03/09/2017 Referred to House Agriculture; Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations
  • Sponsor: Rep. Katherine Clark
  • 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

H.R.1584 Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement Act of 2017
This bill will amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to prohibit taking, importing, and exporting of orca whales for public display in captivity. It also would prohibit the breeding of orca whales for the sole purpose of public display.

  • Status: 03/16/2017 Referred to House Agriculture
  • MA Cosponsors: Rep. Katherine Clark

H.R. 1817 To Prohibit the Use of the Poisons Sodium Fluoroacetate (known as “Compound 1080”) and Sodium Cyanide for Predator Control
This bill would ban the use of lethal poisons Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide for predator control efforts. The use of these poisons has led to deaths of endangered animals and domesticated dogs, and it has also injured many humans.

  • Status: 03/30/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
  • MA Cosponsors: None as of 03/31/2017

H.R. 1629 Public Safety and Wildlife Protection Act
This bill would restrict the use of steel-jaw leghold traps and Conibear traps on animals to prevent unnecessary harm to wildlife and companion animals.

  • Status: 03/20/2017 Referred to House Foreign Affairs
  • MA Cosponsors: None as of 03/24/2017

H.R. 1438 Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act
This bill will amend the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 to make it illegal to use or possess body-gripping traps in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

  • Status: 03/16/2017 House Natural Resources; Referred to Subcommittee on Federal Lands
  • MA Cosponsors: Rep. James McGovern, Rep. William Keating, Rep. Katherine Clark

H.R. 1338 Horse Protection Amendments Act
This bill would amend the Horse Protection Act and give increased protection for horses participating in shows, exhibitions, or sales.

  • Status: 03/17/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection
  • MA Cosponsors: None as of 03/24/2017

H.R. 1456 Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act of 2017
This bill would make it illegal to possess, buy, or sell shark fins or any product containing shark fins. It would acceptable to possess a shark fin only if it was taken with a license or permit and used for noncommercial subsistence or for research purposes.

  • Status: 03/20/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources; Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans
  • MA Cosponsors: Rep. William Keating, Rep. Stephen Lynch

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: 02/10/2017 Both referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources; Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans
  • MA Cosponsors: None as of 03/31/2017

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: 02/10/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources; Subcommittee on Federal Lands
  • MA Cosponsors: None as of 03/31/2017

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: 03/27/2017 Presented to the President
  • MA Cosponsors: None as of 03/31/2017

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