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Agriculture Appropriations Bill Gives Animals a Boost

Agriculture Appropriations Bill Gives Animals a Boost

Name: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2020

Bill Number: HR 3164

Each year, Congress must pass bills appropriating funds for various federal agencies. This year’s funding bill for the Department of Agriculture, HR 3164, contains several provisions that would positively impact animals and increase transparency for animals in research.

HR 3164 would direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to restore all publicly available Animal Welfare inspection reports that were available on January 30, 2017—when the Animal Care Public Search Tool was removed from the APHIS website—and all content generated since that date. This would include:

  • All reports documenting all Animal Welfare Act non-compliances observed by USDA officials and all animal inventories;
  • All Animal Welfare Act and Horse Protection Act enforcement records;
  • All reports or other materials documenting any non-compliances observed by USDA officials; and
  • All Animal Welfare Act research facility annual reports.

The restoration of this database would create greater transparency and hold research facilities accountable for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The current database, which replaced the version removed in 2017, is difficult to navigate and omits many records previously available to the public.

This bill would also prohibit the use of appropriated funds for several purposes, including:

  • Licensing and inspection of Class B animal dealers that sell dogs and cats for use in research, experiments, teaching or testing; 
  • Inspection of horse slaughter facilities (making it impossible for a facility to sell the meat from the facility); and
  • Implementation of a proposed rule to allow hog slaughterhouses to implement an optional inspection system that would revoke maximum line speeds for processing animal (endangering human workers as well as increasing the chances of animal suffering).

This 110-page bill contains many other provisions, but the issues outlined above show a new attitude towards animal welfare, at least on the part of the House Appropriations Committee.

 

Call to Actions:

  1. Please contact your U.S. Representative and urge them to support this legislation.
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Recipients

  • Your Representative

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Message

Please support federal funding bill with animal welfare measures intact

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to ask your support for HR 3164, the proposed federal funding bill for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for the 2020 fiscal year. The bill contains several provisions that would benefit animal welfare and it is important that the final bill includes them.

HR 3164 would direct the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to restore all publicly available Animal Welfare inspection reports that were removed from public view in 2017 and to restore public access to a fully-searchable database to find them. The restoration of this database would create greater transparency for agency actions, while holding companies accountable for any violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

This legislation would also prohibit the use of funds to inspect and license slaughterhouses killing horses for human consumption; for implementation of an optional inspection system for swine slaughterhouses; and for the continued licensing of class B animal dealers selling dogs and cats for use in research.

I hope that you will give your full support to the passage HR 3164, including its animal welfare provisions. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]