Name: Federal Animal Welfare Enforcement Improvement Act
Bill Number: HR 4211
While the Animal Welfare Enforcement Improvement Act would amend licensing provisions of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to prevent the licensing of or renewal of a license for dealers and exhibitors who have violated local, state or federal laws relating to animals, the most important part of this bill are two provisions that would impact licensees using animals for research:
1. The bill contains a “citizen suits” provision that would allow any person to bring a civil suit on his own behalf to enjoin any person, including the United States and any other governmental body, who is alleged to be in violation of any provision of the AWA. While individual citizens do not ordinarily have authority to bring a case against a licensee for wrongdoing, a citizen suit gives ordinary people the right to enforce the law even though they have no ownership right to the animals involved.
2. The U.S. Department of Agriculture would be required to publish, in a searchable format on a public website, information and reports on all investigations conducted by the USDA, including all documents reporting noncompliance with the AWA. The publication of these documents, in their entirety, would combat the USDA’s growing insistence on confidentiality for all wrongdoers, which hinders the work of animal advocates, including NAVS.
Passage of this bill would help the issue of transparency in animal research and help to ensure that its provisions are enforced with public oversight of government and other agencies.
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Please support AWA amendments for more accountability and transparency by the government
Dear [Decision Maker],
I am writing to ask your support for HR 4211, the Federal Animal Welfare Enforcement Improvement, which would amend licensing provisions of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to prevent the licensing of or renewal of a license for dealers and exhibitors who have violated local, state or federal laws relating to animals. The bill also sets out specific provisions for the suspension and revocation of licenses for noncompliance with AWA provisions. Moreover, this bill would allow any person to commence a civil suit on his own behalf to enjoin any person, including the United States and any other governmental body, who is alleged to be in violation of any provision of the AWA. The use of citizen suits has been sparse in U.S. law, but provisions of law affecting animals, like those impacting the environment, require extraordinary measures to ensure that government agencies and licensees of those agencies are following the law. Allowing citizens to bring suit is a lesser expense than paying for the large number of inspectors necessary to ensure compliance across multiple industries affecting millions of animals.In addition, this bill would require the USDA to publish complete information on investigations by the agency and records of noncompliance that it has been concealing since these records were removed from public access in 2017. Please give your support to this legislation by becoming a sponsor so that it can move forward this session. Thank you.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]