The second session of the 115th Congress is underway. While many senators and representatives have helped advance positive animal welfare legislation, a few legislators have succeeded in suppressing action on these bills. Your representative, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, has the unique ability to overcome these obstacles by bringing bills to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote.
Animal welfare isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue; many of the bills AWI supports have broad bipartisan support. We hope that Majority Leader McCarthy will join AWI in supporting animal welfare by allowing action on these bills, which offer humane solutions to pressing animal welfare (and, in a number of cases, public safety) concerns.
- Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act: Any member of a household can become a victim of domestic violence: spouses or partners, children, and pets. Abusers are well aware of the bond between their victims and companion animals and they exploit that bond to control, manipulate, frighten, and punish victims. This connection between animal cruelty and domestic violence creates an all-too-real obstacle for the many survivors who want to leave their abusive partners. In fact, fear of what might happen to their pets keeps many victims from leaving. The PAWS Act (H.R. 909) responds to this crisis by helping programs provide shelter and housing assistance for domestic violence survivors and their companion animals. This bill would help bridge the gap between the tremendous need for services for survivors with pets and the ability of agencies to meet that need. H.R. 909 is sponsored by Reps. Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and has 246 cosponsors, over half of the entire US House of Representatives.
- Shark Fin Sales Trade Elimination Act: Shark finning is the cruel practice of removing a shark’s fin and discarding the mutilated carcass into the sea where the animal will die of suffocation or predation. This bill would remove the United States from the global shark fin trade by banning the sale, importation, and exportation of shark fins. A Senate committee has already approved its version of this bill; it’s time for the House of Representatives to take up its bill, H.R. 1456, which was introduced by Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Gregorio Sablan (D-MP), and has 233 cosponsors—more than half of the House.
- Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act: The PACT Act (H.R. 1494) would prohibit particularly heinous and unspeakable acts of animal abuse. On December 14, the Senate unanimously passed its version of the bill. Currently, the PACT Act has 273 cosponsors—over 60 percent of the members of the House.
- Humane Cosmetics Act: Today, more than 1.7 billion consumers live in countries—including India and the entire European Union—that have banned cosmetics testing on animals and the sale of cosmetics tested on animals. The United States is not yet one of them. The Humane Cosmetics Act (H.R. 2790) would phase out the testing of cosmetics on live animals and the sale of animal-tested cosmetics in this country, paving the way for cutting-edge technologies to replace inhumane and outdated animal testing. This bill is sponsored by Reps. Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Don Beyer (D-VA) and has 169 cosponsors, more than one-third of the House.
Please contact your representative, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to let him know that animal welfare is a priority for you and urge him to allow the full House of Representatives to vote on these important bills.
Be sure to share this eAlert with friends and family members who live in Majority Leader McCarthy’s district, as well.