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Where Do Your Lawmakers Stand on Animal Welfare Funding?

171 Members of Congress join call for funds to enforce key animal protection laws

  • Abuse of baby veal calves documented at a slaughter plant helped spur calls for funding to improve humane slaughter enforcement. iStock.com

by Mimi Brody

With only a few weeks to rally support in time for the Appropriations Committee deadlines, we worked with a strong bipartisan group of 40 U.S. Senators and 131 U.S. Representatives to request funds needed to improve enforcement of key animal welfare laws. Click here to see if your federal legislators were among those who lent support to this effort.

If they were, please take a moment to call and express thanks for their help on this year's animal welfare enforcement funding requests. It's important to give positive feedback to those who take action on behalf of animals. You can reach your federal legislators through the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121, or click here to find their names and office phone numbers. When you call, ask the receptionist to relay your message to the staff person handling Agriculture Appropriations issues.

Led by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and David Vitter (R-LA) and Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Christopher Smith (R-NJ), the joint requests called for funds to implement and enforce the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, the Animal Welfare Act, the Horse Protection Act, the federal animal fighting law, and programs to help prepare for the needs of animals in disasters and to address the shortage of veterinarians in rural and inner-city areas and public health practice. Click here to see the Senate group letter. Click here to see the House group letter.

This is just the latest installment in a multi-year effort. The HSUS and Humane Society Legislative Fund have been steadily building the enforcement budgets for these laws, recognizing that laws on the books won't do animals much good if they're not enforced.

Over the past eleven years, for example, we've succeeded in boosting the annual funding for enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act by 139.5% (a cumulative total of more than $84 million in new dollars to the program). Today, there are 115 USDA inspectors, compared to about 60 inspectors during the 1990s, to help ensure basic humane treatment at thousands of puppy mills, research laboratories, zoos, circuses, and other facilities.

Thanks to your work, Congress can help sustain our efforts to protect animals from cruelty and abuse. It's an investment in the animals' future -- and our own.