Congress' August district work period has begun and your US representative and senators have returned home to reconnect with the voters. Now is your chance to meet with them to discuss important animal welfare issues that are still pending before Congress. Contact their offices through our Compassion Index to get schedules of town halls, office hours, and other public appearances this month; and make it a point to talk with them at one of these forums. (In some cases, you may need to call their offices when they don't publish these schedules online.) Below are a few of the top animal protection issues for each chamber.
US House of Representatives:
Republican members of the House Natural Resources Committee are doing their best to use procedural roadblocks to prevent bills from passing the committee, including several that affect animal welfare. These include H.R. 2245, the Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large Animal Trophies Act (CECIL Act); H.R. 1979, the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act; H.R. 1776, the Captive Primate Safety Act; H.R. 1380, the Big Cat Public Safety Act; and H.R. 737, the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act. Some of these bills have had hearings, but it still may be difficult to get them out of committee. Please ask your representative to cosponsor them and to ask House leadership to ensure that they get a vote on the House floor. (You can visit our website for additional information on these bills.)
Please also ask your representative to cosponsor H.R. 2808, the Child and Animal Abuse Detection and Reporting Act. This bill would authorize state child protection agencies that voluntarily provide data to the federal government to include information about animal abuse as a risk factor for child abuse. Weighing this additional factor would help identify opportunities to prevent both child and animal abuse or suggest when more specialized intervention is needed.
The barbaric practice of "soring" involves deliberately inflicting pain on a horse's hooves and legs--using methods such as applying chemicals to burn the flesh or by inserting hard objects into tender areas--to create an artificial high-stepping gait during walking horse competitions. S. 1007, the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, introduced by Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Mark Warner (D-VA), would end the failed system of industry self-policing, strengthen penalties for soring, ban the devices associated with soring, and make the actual practice of soring a horse illegal. In July, the PAST Act overwhelmingly passed the House, with 333 representatives voting in favor of this bill to combat equine abuse. After years of inaction, the bill now awaits a vote in the Senate in order to finally be signed into law. Unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has historically been opposed to moving the PAST Act forward, so it is essential that we work to show that this vital bill has overwhelming support in the Senate as well as the House. Please contact your senators and ask them to cosponsor S. 1007 if they have not already done so, and to contact Senate leadership to express support for bringing the PAST Act to the Senate floor.
Visit your senators and representative in person during the district work period to discuss your support for these animal welfare measures. If you are unable to meet with your legislators in person, please use our online Compassion Index to request action on these and other bills, and to thank them if they have already cosponsored the bills. As their constituent, you have the most power to influence your legislators.
Thank you for taking time to speak out on behalf of animals! Please be sure to share this alert with your friends, family, and co-workers, and invite them to meet with or otherwise contact their legislators as well.