With so many things changing so quickly, the animal welfare community needs to stay on top of current legislation more than ever. Our voice is vital in order for the animals to win. Kim Alboum, Director of the Emergency Placement Partner program at the Humane Society of the United States, recently shared this information with us. Please read about the Federal bills below and consider reaching out to your representatives, posting through social media and discussing the issues with friends and family. For more information about federal legislation visit this page and for issues affecting your state click here.
Urge your federal legislators to co-sponsor and push for passage of the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, H.R. 909/S.322, to help protect battered partners and their pets.
The PAWS Act will extend current federal domestic violence protections to include pets, and authorize grant money to help domestic violence shelters accommodate pets (currently, only 3% of these shelters allow pets). No one should ever be forced to choose between leaving an abuser and protecting a beloved pet, yet far too many women are forced to make this very choice. Many victims delay their decision to leave a violent situation out of fear for their pets’ safety, and up to 84% of women entering shelters reported that their partners abused or killed the family pet.
Thirty-two states have enacted pet protective order legislation, allowing courts to include pets in restraining orders that prevent suspected abusers from having access to their victims, both human and animal.
The PAWS Act establishes a national policy on this issue—as well as encouraging states to expand their legal protections for pets in abusive households.
Call or email your Congressman today and ask them to support the PAWS Act.
Take action on the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, H.R. 1494/S.654, to make it a federal crime to commit malicious cruelty to an animal on federal property or otherwise in interstate commerce.
Federal law already prohibits animal fighting, as well as the trade in obscene video depictions of animals being crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled or subjected to other forms of heinous cruelty. But while the trade in video depictions of cruelty is banned, the underlying cruelty itself is not. The PACT Act will create a federal anti-cruelty statute that complements the cruelty laws in the 50 states.
No animal should be crushed, burned or impaled—and yet there are people in our country who engage in these awful acts of animal cruelty.
Those same individuals are the ones most likely to later physically harm a human being. Working to end animal cruelty is a win for animals and a win for people.
Call or email your Congressman today and ask them to support the PACT Act.
Follow the money! (OFF Act)
The top priority of HSUS’ Ag Council, a grassroots community of family farmers who love animals, is to stop the flow of money from taxpayers to Big Ag, which has made an unholy alliance with those who see animals only as means to an end.
Why is this important to the shelter community?
This money goes directly to the organizations that fight us on shelter and other companion animal bills. Big Ag fears that any gains for animals represent a slippery slope to more humane treatment of farm animals. To them, all animals are property, and they cannot abide laws protecting dogs and cats because that may well lead to laws helping pigs and cows.
Many foods in the United States have hidden food taxes called checkoffs ($1 per cow, or 0.4% of all pork products, for example), which go towards national organizations like the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Producers Council.
This tax money – your tax money – went to support the Oklahoma right to farm measure last year, which would have classified puppy mills as “farms” and exempted them from critical reforms. Through the extraordinary grassroots work of our friends in the farm and environmental stewardship communities, this dangerous measure was defeated.
Your money also went to oppose a successful 2010 bill in Missouri that prohibited the worst abuses in the puppy mill industry. We were headed for an overwhelming victory, until millions in Big Ag money poured in to purchase misleading television ads, and we narrowly won an important victory against animal cruelty by just 51% to 49%.
An impressive bipartisan coalition, including the Heritage Foundation, the Organization for Competitive Markets, Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), Representatives Dave Brat (R-VA) and Dina Titus (D-NV), and many shelter groups throughout the US, are fighting for the Opportunities and Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act to stop the flow of money into the coffers of those who oppose animals at every turn, no matter how moderate the reform.
For those of you wanting to know why the country hasn’t passed meaningful legislation to crack down on the worst abuses perpetrated against companion animals, just follow the money. Then, call your member of Congress to tell them to support the OFF Act.