My work has consistently earned me a 100 percent rating from the Humane Society which has awarded me the “Humane Champion” or the “Humane Advocate” award for seven consecutive years.
I have also received a 100 percent rating from every other group that rates voting records and is dedicated to animal protection. I continue to work with these groups and others to pass meaningful legislation to protect animals from cruelty.
Regulating Puppy Mills
It is estimated that 2 to 4 million puppy mill puppies are sold each year in the United States. Facilities that breed dogs for commercial resale are required to be licensed and inspected under the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), but a loophole in the law allows thousands of puppy mills to sell directly to the public and go unchecked from any federal oversight. Due to improper care and over-crowded conditions, their puppies are often ill, leaving unsuspecting consumers with sick, sometimes dying puppies, expensive vet bills, and very unhappy children. Meanwhile, the breeding dogs at these facilities often spend their entire lives in constant confinement and deprivation.
I have cosponsored the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act to close this loophole in the AWA that allows thousands of large, commercial breeders to sell puppies over the Internet and escape licensing and regulation. Any commercial breeders who sell 50 or more puppies per year would be required to be licensed and inspected. The PUPS Act would also require that dogs used for breeding be allowed to exercise outside their primary enclosures every day.
I am also focused on halting foreign puppy mill imports. Too many puppies arrive in the U.S. with not only transmittable diseases, but sick or dead due to being bred under inhumane conditions and having traveled long distances in cramped containers that may be exposed to extreme temperatures. Many of these countries have no laws whatsoever to protect dogs. Along with my colleagues, I sent a letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack urging him to implement the puppy import provision in existing law that’s restricts foreign puppy mills from coming into the U.S. for commercial sale. The law would not prevent people from importing their own pets or dogs they have adopted.
Stopping Animal Fighting Spectators
The disgusting “sport” of dog fighting is now part of the consciousness of mainstream America. I was an early supporter of the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act, which established felony-level penalties for organizing animal fighting events and for transporting animals that are meant to be used in animal fights. It not only addressed dog fighting, but it also strengthens penalties associated with cockfighting – another atrocious form of animal fighting. I was pleased when the legislation passed in the House and Senate and was signed into law by the President.
The most effective way to prevent dog fighting is to not just target the organizers, but the participants as well. I am a cosponsor of the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act which makes it unlawful to knowingly attend or bring a minor to an animal fighting venue. Spectators are more than mere observers at animal fights. They are participants and accomplices who enable the crime, paying hundreds or thousands of dollars in admission fees and gambling wagers, and helping conceal organizers and handlers who try to blend into the crowd when a raid occurs. I am pleased that this legislation was enacted into law as part of the 2014 Farm Bill.
Horses have played a large role in the history of the San Fernando Valley. From the days of early Hollywood, the “Fat Jones” stables in North Hollywood provided horses to the movies from 1912 to the mid-1960s. Today, the equestrian community remains strong and committed to the protection of horses nationwide.
I have Cosponsored the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, which will prohibit the slaughter of American horses for human consumption and protect consumers from eating toxic food products. It makes it illegal for horses or horse meat to be transported in interstate commerce by any person who knows or should reasonably know that the horses or horsemeat are intended for human consumption. Earlier this year, the USDA announced that it intends to approve a permit for a New Mexico facility to begin slaughtering horses for their meat. If Congress fails to act, this industry could return to the U.S. Given the horsemeat scandal overseas, compelling food safety concerns, and the sequester cuts to our own food inspection system, it is critical to prevent this cruel and dangerous practice.
I am also working to crack down on the cruel practice of “soring.” I am a cosponsor of The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, which will stop unscrupulous trainers deliberately inflicting pain on horses’ legs and hooves to force them into a high-stepping gait.
Protecting Big Cats
I have Cosponsored the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act which will ensure that lions, tigers and other big cats, which are bred to be sold or kept as pets, do not end up living in horrible conditions where they can be subject to mistreatment and cruelty, diminish global big cat conservation efforts, or threaten public safety.
Halting Chimpanzee Experimentation
Chimpanzees have been used for experiments and invasive biomedical research in the United States for more than 50 years. They endure painful procedures, illnesses, the stress of captivity, and sometimes years of solitary confinement in barren cages. The practice is not only unacceptable, but was concluded unnecessary, according to the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine (IOM). I joined with my colleagues to introduce the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act which would prohibit the use of chimpanzees in invasive research, retire the approximately 500 federally-owned chimpanzees to sanctuary, and make permanent the current NIH moratorium on government-funded breeding of chimpanzees for testing.
I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance these important legislative initiatives to protect animals.
For more information concerning my work and views on Animal Rights issues, please contact me.
I look forward to hearing from you.
More on Animal Rights
By Congressman Brad Sherman
In my 18 years in Congress I have worked hard to be a champion for animals. Like many of my constituents, I support strong measures to protect animals and ensure that they are not subjected to undue pain or suffering. My work has consistently earned me a 100 percent rating from the Humane Society which has awarded me the “Humane Champion” or the “Humane Advocate” award for eight consecutive years.