My work in Congress 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 ten 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
On February 3, I was appalled when the Trump Administration removed the portion of the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) website that provided information about animal abuse without any prior warning or acknowledgment. For over a decade this section identified dog breeders, horse breeders, zoos, and research labs that violated the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and the Horse Protection Act (HPA). Public access to information can guide consumer decision-making and plays a significant role in deterring regulated entities from violating the law.
To fight back against this decision, I sent a letter on February 14 urging the agency to immediately restore comprehensive online, searchable access to these documents. The public has a right to know if regulated entities have subjected animals in their care to abuse or otherwise failed to meet basic welfare standards.
The USDA has re-posted some content, but I am not satisfied. I am committed to keeping the pressure on the President and the USDA, who I believe have thrown transparency out the window when it comes to animal abuse. That’s why I am a cosponsor of the Animal Welfare Accountability and Transparency Act. This legislation would require the USDA to re-post all of this information on its website and would increase accountability for those who treat animals inhumanely by taking away certain tax benefits for businesses found to be in violation of the AWA or HPA.
Ending the Dog Meat Trade
Held every year, the Dog Meat Festival in Yulin, China results in the slaughter of up to 10,000 dogs, which are then served in some of the restaurants in the city. Animal welfare groups have found that many of these dogs are stolen pets taken from their homes, still wearing their collars when they reach the slaughterhouse. Yulin’s dog slaughter takes place in residential areas and public marketplaces, imposing scenes of extreme animal cruelty on local residents, including young children.
This practice is unacceptable. An international campaign to halt the killing keeps growing each year. Millions in Canada, the U.K., and the U.S. have signed petitions calling for China to end the festival. In Congress, I am a cosponsor of House Resolution 30, Condemning the Dog Meat Festival in Yulin, China, and Urging China to End the Dog Meat Trade. I am hopeful that pressure from the U.S. government can compel the government of China to ban this cruel practice.
In addition to the resolution, I am a cosponsor of the Dog and Cat Meat Prohibition Act of 2017. The legislation would amend the federal AWA to prohibit the slaughter and trade of dogs and cats for human consumption and would provide penalties for individuals involved in the dog or cat meat trade. The legislation serves as a significant expression of unity with countries that have dog meat bans in place, and encourages other countries to follow suit.
On August 8, 2016, President Barack Obama directed the Fish and Wildlife Service to amend regulations for the National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska to stop some of the most appalling practices in wildlife management. Hunters were prohibited from using airplanes to scout and shoot grizzly bears, luring grizzlies with rotting meat or pet food to get a point blank kill, killing wolf, black bear, and coyote mothers and their dependent pups and cubs in their dens, or trapping grizzly and black bears with steel-jawed leg-hold traps.
Despite my opposition, and the opposition of nearly all Democrats, the Republican Congress and the President overturned this rule.
One success that will be harder to overturn is the Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Act of 2016, of which I was a cosponsor. It was signed into law by President Obama on October 7, 2016. The bill improves global anti-poaching efforts, promote greater collaboration among and resources for law enforcement to stop poaching and wildlife trafficking, and reduce the profitability of poaching and wildlife trafficking around the globe.
Preventing Animal Torture
We had success in 2010 with the passage of the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act which banned videos depicting animal torture. The underlying animal torture itself, however, is not yet banned under federal law. That is why I cosponsored the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, which would allow for federal criminal prosecution of anyone who intentionally drowns, suffocates, or otherwise heinously abuses animals. Malicious animal cruelty is already a felony in every state, but this bill will provide the necessary framework for intervention in cases that cross state lines, take place in a federal facility, or in a business selling pets across state lines.
I am working to crack down on the cruel practice of “soring.” In March, I joined my colleagues to introduce the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, legislation that would amend existing federal law to better crack down on the cruel practice, in which unscrupulous trainers deliberately inflict pain on the hooves and legs of horses to force them to perform a pain-based, unnaturally high-stepping gait and gain unfair competitive advantage at horse shows.
I have also joined my colleagues in introducing the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act. The SAFE Act will protect horses and consumers by prohibiting the transport and export of U.S. horses to slaughter for human consumption. American horses are not raised for food and are routinely given hundreds of drugs over their lifetimes that can be toxic to humans if ingested. Horse slaughter is inherently cruel due to the unique biology of horses, and the U.S. public overwhelmingly opposes it.
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.
Social Media Postings
As chief Dem on the Asia Subcommittee, I am pleased to co-sponsor H.Res.401 urging Asian nations to protect dogs & cats from the meat trade.— Rep. Brad Sherman (@BradSherman) August 17, 2017
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.