Congress has made little progress on finalizing fiscal year 2022 spending bills—an unfortunate circumstance given that many of them include important provisions that would benefit animals. The House agriculture appropriations bill provides funds to assist with housing domestic violence survivors and their companion animals, continues bans on licensing dealers who sell random source dogs and cats to laboratories and on horse slaughter inspection (effectively preventing the commercial slaughter of horses for human consumption), and expresses concern over lax enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the Horse Protection Act (HPA), and the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. Other House bills address ongoing problems with wild horse management and provide much needed funding for conservation of North Atlantic right whales, Southern Resident killer whales, and other highly vulnerable species. Senate spending bills also address lax AWA and HPA enforcement, prevent the slaughter of horses for human consumption, address problems with the wild horse program, fund Endangered Species Act activities, and combat wildlife trafficking.
Both House and Senate health and human services appropriations bills criticize the National Institutes of Health for frustrating congressional intent by refusing to retire a number of former research chimpanzees to a sanctuary. Both also request reports on the number of animals used in NIH-funded research.
Hopefully, these animal protection provisions will remain intact when Congress eventually moves forward on these bills.