ACTIVISM 101: Legislation worth a small investment of time! Contact your elected representatives and request that they support animal-friendly legislation. The federal bill numbers below (where listed; not all items below are federal and not all are bills that will be determined by legislative votes) are linked to GovTrack.us, a site that allows you to read each bill’s text and track its progress. (How does a bill become law? Simplistic version; more detailed version.) You can also see how many legislators have signed on as co-sponsors (added their formal support to another member’s bill) and to which committee the bill has been assigned for a hearing to determine if it goes on to the full House or Senate.
If you’re new to this kind of activism, find your two U.S. senators and one U.S. representative here. You’ll be supplied with a link to an email contact form and/or phone numbers. Ask your senators to co-sponsor or support the bill whose number starts with S; ask your House representative to co-sponsor or support the HR bill. If it’s a bad-for-animals bill, ask them to vote against it. Easy!
NEW (8/19/15)! ACTIVE/Federal… Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT Act, S.1831). This bipartisan bill (R. Blumenthal, D-CT & P. Toomey, R-PA) addresses the torture and extermination of animals used in creating so-called crush videos. “Despite taking steps in 2010 to ban the sale of videos depicting animal crushing, Congress failed to make the underlying act of crushing a federal crime. This means that – even when there is overwhelming evidence that torture is taking place – federal law enforcement is unable to protect animals from abuse or even arrest known abusers.” Find the text for S.1831 here; track the bill here. Articles: Sen. Toomey’s website (source of previous quote); FOX TV, CT report.
Advocacy: HSUS; Nat’l. Sheriff’s Assoc. letter of support.
A companion House bill (H.R.2293- text) was introduced 5/13/15 (also bipartisan); track the bill here and check the 100 co-sponsors (as of 8/19/15) to see if your representative is listed or not, then contact him/her to say thanks or to request that he/she sign on as a sponsor.
ACTIVE/Federal… The Humane Cosmetics Act, H.R.2858, has been introduced by two Dems and two Republicans and is now bi-partisan! (As you might recall, James Moran, D-VA, introduced it last Congress.) It will phase out animal testing of cosmetics and their ingredients. Find the bill’s text here; track the bill here. It has been assigned to the House Energy & Commerce committee. Canada has also introduced a similar bill, while the entire European Union (28 countries), Norway, India, New Zealand, and Israel have bans in place already.
Contact your representative to the House and ask him/her to co-sponsor and support the bill (link to find your rep is above, in the intro to this page)! Advocacy: HSUS; Animal Welfare Institute; Huff Post blog. Also: Check out this chart showing which tests are conducted on which animals; revisit “Cosmetics testing on animals: Do you know as much as an 8th grader?” at the Other Nations blog.
ACTIVE/Federal… Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 (S. 405: bill text here; track the bill here) – Here we go again, the latest iteration (114th Congress) of a bad bill supposedly meant to “protect” hunting, fishing, shooting, and trapping–as if these activities, along with their powerful lobbies, need protection. As before, this bill protects the use of toxic lead bullets and fishing sinkers (scroll to the bottom of the Other Nations homepage for videos on lead-poisoned birds of prey), allows for the importation from Canada of certain (pre-ESA listing) polar bear trophies, and paves the way for ever-more use of public lands for killing and shooting. Additionally, it defines hunting to include trapping.
Far and away more Americans engage in birdwatching and wildlife watching than the tiny percentage that kills for sport and traps for profit. Please contact your two US Senators and ask them to vote against this bill. Advocacy: HSUS; Animal Welfare Institute; NAVS. A good recent history on the bill–prior to this introduction– is available at OpenSecrets.org (“This is the definition of kowtowing to the NRA”). Who supports this bill? Safari Club International. NRA…and others.
***MONTANANS: Predictably, both of our senators have already signed on as sponsors. But contact them anyhow…let them know how you feel.
Targeted Use of Sanctions for Killing Elephants in their Range (TUSKER) Act (H.R. 5454, to amend the African Elephant Conservation Act to provide for trade sanctions against countries involved in illegal ivory trade):
Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield, OR) originally introduced legislation on 9/11/14 that would impose trade sanctions on countries that facilitate ivory trafficking. ...“As many as 40,000 elephants were slaughtered in 2013 alone for their tusks and over 1,000 park rangers have been killed trying to protect endangered wildlife. The illegal wildlife trade funds the operations of gun, drug and human trafficking crime syndicates. It also funds extremely dangerous terrorist groups that threaten regional stability in Africa and national security in the United States.” Read the Congressman’s Earth Day 2015 news release.
Find the bill’s text here; track the bill here (not updated yet). Read “Endangered African Elephant Wins New Allies” here. Advocacy: Born Free USA. Please contact your representative and ask him/her to support this bill and sign on as a co-sponsor.
ACTIVE/Federal… reintroduced in April (Senate) & July (House) 2015! Lick the Big Lick with federal anti-soring legislation: The Big Lick is the name of the artificial, high-stepping gait typically accomplished through physical abuse of Tennessee Walking Horses. The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (S. 1121 & H.R. 3268) will amend the Horse Protection Act of 1970 to ban soring and end this sick brand of abuse. Bill text here (Senate) & here (House); track bill here (Senate) & here (House). Ask your elected officials to support and co-sponsor the PAST Act, and if they are already cosponsors (find list of cosponsors at previous links), send them a message of thanks. For full details, including photos and videos, see the comprehensive Other Nations blog post, “The Big Lick: Horse abuse for fame and fortune.” Advocacy: AVMA (veterinarians); HSUS.
Active/Federal… Captive Primate Safety Act (H.R. 2920; text). Will testimony by Charla Nash–the woman who lost her face and eyesight to a “pet” chimp attack–finally sway Congress to do the right thing for human and nonhuman primates? (She spoke to the previous (113th) Congress.) This bill “would amend the Lacey Act by adding ‘nonhuman primates’ to the list of animals that cannot be traded or transported across state lines as pets. Currently, the Lacey Act puts such restrictions on big cats, such as lions and tigers.” Track the bill here and contact your U.S. House representative to cosponsor and support this bill. If he/she is already a cosponsor (listed at previous link), send a message of thanks. Advocacy: Born Free USA; Fact sheet from 113th Congress.
A number of important bills from the 113th Congress were not passed and are awaiting reintroduction (or have been reintroduced and not updated on this page yet!). In the meantime, you can still contact your representatives about them (in fact, it’s important to do so; let them know this matters to you!)–make sure you use the bill’s name, as the numbers might change once they’re reintroduced into the current (114th) Congress.
ACTIVE/Federal…died in 113th Congress; awaiting reintroduction. Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (H.R. 4525) was reintroduced into the 113th Congress on 4/30/14 by Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA–he first introduced it in 2011) to amend the Animal Welfare Act to restrict the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses and traveling exhibitions. Read the bill’s text here and track the bill here. On the tracking page scroll down for a list of current cosponsors; if your representative is not listed, please contact him/her and ask that he/she sign on. (If already listed, contact your rep to say thanks!). This bill has been assigned to the House Agriculture Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit committee; you might click on that link to see if your representative sits on the committee and if so, contact her or him. You might also contact the committee chairman and ranking member to let them know how important it is that this bill advances. Advocacy: Animal Defenders International here and here; also US News & World Report item here.
ACTIVE/Federal…died in 113th Congress; awaiting reintroduction. Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act (H.R. 1998) has over 70 House co-sponsors and counting. The Senate version (S.1381) was just introduced at the end of July. This commonsense piece of legislation needs a hearing in the House Natural Resources Committee; ask your U.S. representative and your two senators to co-sponsor the bill (if they haven’t already; you can check at GovTrack) and work for its passage. Bill text here; track bill here.
H.R. 1998 would prohibit future possession and breeding of lions, tigers and other big cats in the exotic “pet” trade. The bill also would require all current “owners” to register their big cats with the federal government. Related: Other Nations blog post, “White tigers: Tragic, not magic.” ADVOCACY: Big Cat Rescue.org
ACTIVE/Federal…died in 113th Congress; awaiting reintroduction. SAFE Act (Safeguard American Food Exports Act of 2013) (H.R.1094) (S.541) Bipartisan legislation…has been introduced that would stop the inhumane killing of American horses for human consumption and prohibit the transport of horses across the U.S. border for slaughter in Canada and Mexico. The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act would prevent the introduction of horse slaughter operations in the U.S., end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat. ADVOCACY: Equine Advocates; Animal Welfare Institute; anti-slaughter public service video. Also see our Other Nations blog post, “A tale of two horses,” here.
ACTIVE/MT & Federal…a variety of nefarious actions are constantly being perpetrated against Yellowstone’s wild bison by the Montana livestock industry and its state and federal lackeys; get details in the current update from the field at Buffalo Field Campaign (updated weekly) OR click here to go straight to the Take Action page OR click here to go to the 2015 Montana legislature page.
Not Active: State of MT…Bobcat fur farm proposal: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks asks for public comment on a bobcat fur farm; comment deadline 8/29/14. Click here for map; click here to access the Environmental Assessment document. UPDATE: Fur farm approved; info here and here (latter is FWP document). Also see “Fur farms: Whom would Jesus skin?” here.
Not active/Federal…Public comment period is closed for listing of African lion under the Endangered Species Act. Check out our blog post of Nov. 1, 2014: “Love it…list it…stuff it? African lion listing open for public comment.”