This week, the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations advanced important measures to protect animals in two government funding bills. The committee reported separate Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations bills to fund the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Interior Department—both bills contain crucial protections for animals and increased funding for important programs.
The House Agriculture Appropriations bill includes significant animal-protection measures such as:
- Protecting Dogs in Puppy Mills: The report accompanying the bill demands that the USDA reform its current broken system for issuing licenses to puppy mills, zoos and animal labs; inspecting these facilities; and enforcing the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act. Right now, the USDA is failing to protect animals—which is why we’re taking the agency to court.
- Curbing Extreme-Speed Slaughter: Thanks to an amendment offered by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and supported by Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Subcommittee Chair Sanford Bishop (D-GA) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), the bill now requires the USDA to stop allowing some chicken slaughterhouses to operate at extreme speeds during the COVID-19 pandemic—reducing risks to workers, animals and food safety.
- Ending Horse Slaughter: Prohibits funding for the operation of horse slaughterhouses in the U.S. This provision is necessary to block domestic horse slaughter as we get closer to closing the loophole that allows horses to be exported for this purpose.
- Preventing Horse Soring: Provides over $3 million to help the USDA enforce the Horse Protection Act—a law aimed at preventing the cruel practice of “soring,” the use of painful chemicals and devices to inflict pain in horses to compel an exaggerated, high-stepping gait.
- Addressing Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse: Provides $3 million in funding to provide grants to help survivors of domestic violence and their at-risk pets.
- Supporting Higher-Welfare Farmers: Provides $14 million (a $3 million boost!) in grant funding to support value-added farming, including farmers using higher welfare standards to raise animals.
- Supporting the Cage-Free Transition: Encourages the USDA to consider supporting farmers’ transitions to cage-free farming systems. This would help producers meet the increasing demand for more humane products and adhere to phase-in deadlines for corporate and state government commitments to end the use of cruel confinement methods.
The House Interior Appropriations bill includes significant equine protections such as:
- Prohibiting Slaughter of Wild Horses and Burros: Continues longstanding anti-slaughter protections for wild equines.
- Protecting Wild Horses & Burros: Provides over $162 million in funding for a sustainable wild horse and burro management plan that includes robust fertility control. This is a $46+ million increase from last year. We thank Subcommittee Chair Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Ranking Member David Joyce (R-OH) for securing this funding, as well as Rep. Roybal-Allard (D-CA) for speaking in support of this important investment. We will continue to advocate for these funds to be used for a humane, science-based management program that will ensure our wild equines can thrive for generations to come and do not end up in the slaughter pipeline.
We are so grateful to our advocates for helping us to secure these important federal protections for animals. We also thank our animal advocates in Congress for championing these measures.
Please join the ASPCA’s Regional Advocacy Field Team to learn more about how you can ensure these provisions are passed as part of a final FY22 Appropriations package!
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