Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter
From 22 December 2006 Issue
UPDATE: Horse Slaughter Ban & Animal Fighting Prohibition Act Must Wait till 2007
December 11, 2006
HSUS President & CEO Wayne Pacelle, with Grace
The close of the 109th Congress brings mixed news for animal advocates. We passed some major legislation we can all be proud of, but other important reforms fell just short of final passage, even though we clearly had the support of the vast majority of House members and Senators on these measures.
During this Congress, there were some major legislative victories. In particular, the Congress passed bipartisan legislation to establish state and national disaster planning for animals -- and there had been no national disaster planning for animals prior to the enactment of this legislation. In addition, the Congress closed a tax loophole for trophy hunters that they had been exploiting to finance their worldwide hunting excursions.
Permanent Horse Slaughter Ban Comes Closer than Ever
This Congress stirred in a major way on the issue of banning horse slaughter. We forced the issue to the floor multiple times, and every time it came up, lawmakers sided with horse protection (five times in the House and one time in the Senate). In 2005, both the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation to defend federal inspections at horse slaughterhouses, but the USDA -- responsible for slaughterhouse oversight -- skirted the new federal law by allowing the foreign-owned plants to pay for their own inspections.
On September 7, 2006 the U.S. House voted in an overwhelming bipartisan vote (263-146) to pass H.R. 503, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act -- favoring animal advocates over the agriculture lobby in passing a bill to establish a permanent ban on horse slaughter. The Senate version of the bill, S.1915, received the support of 33 cosponsors but did not come up for a vote before the clock ran out. Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT), who was defeated for re-election, acted as the major impediment to Senate consideration of this legislation. With him out of the way in 2007 and our lead sponsors returning to the Senate, our chances in the Senate are brighter than ever.
Animal Fighting Bill Poised for Passage in 2007
The Animal Fighting Prohibition Act also got remarkably close to passage, and it was largely one man who held it up. The bill unanimously passed the Senate, but House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) used his position to block final House consideration of the legislation, even though the bill had 324 cosponsors. With Democrats now in the majority, and a strong animal advocate, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), taking the helm at the House Judiciary Committee, we are very optimistic about the likelihood of passing this legislation.
We are also poised next year to pass bills to crack down on the primate pet trade and on puppy mills. We will make a major push to outlaw canned hunts and Internet hunting, and much more. Although rank-and-file Republican and Democratic lawmakers have led the way for animal protection legislation and members of both parties have supported our initiatives, Republican leaders and committee chairmen have often been roadblocks. With many animal-friendly Democrats in charge, we have historic opportunities to make progress. You can see how all legislators in the 109th Congress scored on animal protection issues at www.humanescorecard.org.
The 110th Congress convenes on January 3, 2007 and we will be there ready to make our voices heard through phone calls, letters, emails, and faxes to ensure American horses are protected from cruel slaughter. Our success thus far has been possible only because of your advocacy and your continued support and pressure. We are counting on you to stay in this fight. Let's work together to make history for animals in 2007.
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States
Go on to New Jersey suit a test case on farm animal cruelty
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