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Agriculture Appropriations Bill Once Again Gives Animals a Boost

Agriculture Appropriations Bill Once Again Gives Animals a Boost

Name: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2021

Bill Number: HR 7610

Pigs CagedEach year, Congress passes bills appropriating funds for various federal agencies. This year’s funding bill for the Department of Agriculture, HR 7610, contains several provisions that would positively impact animal welfare. While these issues have been brought up as legislation, they have not succeeded in passing Congress, however the purpose of the failed legislation is still carried out through annual funding provisions.

This year, the appropriations bill would prohibit the use of appropriated funds for several purposes, including:

  • Licensing and inspection of Class B animal dealers that sell dogs and cats for use in research, experiments, teaching or testing; and
  • Inspection of horse slaughter facilities (making it impossible for a facility to sell the meat from the facility).

In addition, this bill would revoke any waivers granted to food processors during the COVID-19 emergency period to implement increased line speeds at slaughterhouses. While this is considered a worker safety issue, increased line speeds put animals bound for slaughter at greater risk of being tortured as they remain alive and conscious long after their suffering should have ended.

This bill also require the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service facilities to continue to submit to inspections by APHIS for compliance with the Animal Welfare Act and its regulations and standards. Without this provision, the ARS is without federal oversight regarding the welfare of animals.

This 112-page bill contains many other provisions, but the issues outlined above demonstrate that Congress is conflicted regarding animal welfare, unable to pass meaningful laws but committed to providing oversight on these issues.

 

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  • Your Representative

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Please support federal funding bill with animal welfare measures intact

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to ask your support for HR 7610, the proposed Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for the 2021 fiscal year. The bill contains several provisions that would benefit animal welfare and it is important that the final bill reflects them.

HR 3164 would prohibit the use of funds to inspect and license slaughterhouses killing horses for human consumption and would prohibit new or continued licensing of Class B animal dealers selling dogs and cats for use in research.

In addition, this legislation would continue APHIS inspections of USDA Agricultural Research Service facilities, requiring compliance with the Animal Welfare Act and its regulations.

Lastly, the appropriations bill would revoke waivers issued to food processors during the COVID-19 emergency that would allow implementation of increased line speeds at slaughterhouses. This is clearly a worker safety issue, but in addition increased line speeds put animals bound for slaughter at greater risk of being tortured as they remain alive and conscious long after their suffering should have ended.

I hope that you will give your full support to the passage HR 7610, including all of its animal welfare provisions. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]