Name: Reintroduce the Animal Welfare in Agriculture Research Endeavors (AWARE) Act
During the last legislative session, Congress introduced,
but did not pass, the Animal Welfare in Agriculture Research Endeavors (AWARE)
Act. This legislation would have amended the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to
include in its oversight farm animals used in agricultural research at federal
facilities. Currently, the AWA contains a definition of “animal” that excludes
livestock or poultry used in federal research facilities that are studying
nutrition or improving farm animal productivity.
Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made some
changes in how it oversees federal Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
facilities, there is an urgent need for the re-introduction of this amendment
in light of recent animal welfare problems identified in annual inspections.
This proposed amendment to the AWA would require ARS
facilities to provide animals with humane care and treatment and would allow
the USDA to inspect and enforce citations issued in inspection reports by its
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Call to Actions:
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Support reintroduction of amendment to include ARS facilities in AWA protections
Dear [Decision Maker],
I am writing to ask your support for the reintroduction of the Animal Welfare in Agriculture Research Endeavors Act (AWARE Act), a bill that would amend the Animal Welfare Act to include in its oversight animals used in federal Agricultural Research Service (ARS) facilities. Currently, the AWA contains a definition of "animal" that excludes livestock or poultry used in federal research facilities that are studying nutrition or improving farm animal productivity.However, this exemption led to egregious abuses, which were documented in 2015 when the AWARE Act was first proposed. While the USDA made inroads in addressing animal abuse concerns at ARS facilities, multiple citations and many animal deaths have been reported by APHIS so far this year. In July, the Poisonous Plant Research Laboratory in Utah was cited for inadequate veterinary care and improper handling of animals when 32 quail chicks died due to overheating at the facility. Earlier this year, the Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory in Michigan received a critical citation when 15 ducks were found dead because they were not provided with water for multiple days. APHIS also cited the Meat Animal Research Center in Nebraska for lack of adequate veterinary care, inadequate handing of animals with heat distress and lack of adequate separation of pigs which led to several of them with injuries to their head, neck and bodies.These animal abuses should not be tolerated, but the USDA has no authority to enforce the citations issued by APHIS unless there is an appropriate amendment to the AWA that will require humane care and treatment of animals in ARS facilities.Please support the reintroduction of the AWARE Act this legislative session to give APHIS the enforcement authority it needs. Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]