Laws and Other Measures

On January 2, 2013, President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2013 (H.R. 4310), which authorizes the Secretaries of the various military services to transfer back to Lackland Air Force Base or another location for adoption any Military Working Dog (MWD) who is to be retired and for whom “no suitable adoption is available at the military facility where the dog is located.”


On February 7, 2014, President Obama signed H.R. 2642, the Agricultural Act of 2014 into law. The Farm Bill, as it is more commonly known, included language from H.R. 366 and S. 666, the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act.


On December 9, 2010, President Obama signed the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act into law. This bill reestablished the ban on the production, distribution or sale of videos depicting animal cruelty (that had been overturned by the Supreme Court earlier that year).

The Supreme Court handed a victory to animal abusers on April 20, 2010 when it overturned the federal law prohibiting the creation, sale, and possession of depictions of animal cruelty for commercial purposes.


The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) was the first federal law in the U.S. regulating animals in research. The AWA applies to animal carriers, handlers, dealers, breeders, and exhibitors in addition to research laboratories, and sets minimum standards of care that must be provided for animals - including housing, handling, sanitation, food, water, veterinary care and protection from weather extremes. It covers warm-blooded species, but excludes birds, rats of the genus Rattus, and mice of the genus Mus - who together constitute approximately 95% of animals in research.


On October 15, 1970, the Endangered Species Preservation Act (P.L. 89-669) is signed into law. The Act provides for the listing of native threatened and endangered species by the Secretary of the Interior (additional protection for endangered species is granted with the enactment of the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973).


In 1958, the first federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (P.L. 85-765) is signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on August 27. The Act requires all packers selling to the US government to provide anesthetization or instant stunning by mechanical or electrical means prior to the killing of cattle, calves, horses, mules, sheep, swine and other livestock, except in the case of kosher slaughter. The law covers 80 percent of the livestock slaughtered (see 1978 amendments).


In 1971, the US Congress passed resolutions asking the Secretary of State to call for a 10-year international moratorium on commercial whaling.


The Shark Conservation Act was introduced in January 2009 by Representative Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU) in the House of Representatives and Senator John Kerry (D-MA) in the Senate in April 2009. The long-awaited bill was approved by both chambers by unanimous consent on the last days of the 111th Congress in December 2010. President Obama signed the bill into law on January 5, 2011.


On September 8, 1959, the Wild Horse Annie Act (P.L. 86-234), having been approved by the US Congress unanimously, is signed into law. The Act prohibits the poisoning of wild horse and burro waterholes, as well as the use of motorized vehicles to round the horses up for sale to slaughterhouses.