As of mid-August, the US Senate as a whole was getting very little done, but the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee reported out three bills: the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act (S 877), the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act (S 906), and the SAVE Right Whales Act (S 2453). The full Senate passed S 906, and the others await floor consideration.
On the other side of Capitol Hill, however, the House of Representatives has passed almost all of its appropriations bills for fiscal year 2021, which begins in October. Many of them contain important provisions to improve animal welfare, and efforts to weaken animal welfare were defeated. Several of the major provisions:
- The full amount authorized by law ($3 million) is allocated for grants to assist with providing housing for domestic violence survivors with companion animals.
- A prohibition continues on the licensing of dealers who sell dogs and cats acquired from random sources (“Class B” dealers) for use in research.
- Funds are to be redirected to combat trafficking in endangered species.
- Additional funding ($1.5 million) is allocated for research and monitoring of North Atlantic right whales.
- The Department of Health and Human Services is encouraged to include animal abuse as a caregiver risk factor in a national child abuse database.
- The National Institutes of Health is reminded of its obligation to retire chimpanzees to sanctuary and admonished for reneging on that obligation.
In addition to these strides, stand-alone bills to benefit animals have also been introduced.