Animal rights progress in Congress


You care about the welfare of animals. Do your senators and representatives?

Today marks the first session of the 111th U.S. Congress. At the top of the priority list: A stimulus bill, confirmation of President-Elect Barack Obama's cabinet, expanded healthcare, and a time-table for America's withdrawal from Iraq. Wow. That's a lot.

But what about animal rights? Will this batch of senators and house representatives do as much for animals as the previous one?

Wayne Pacelle, Chief Executive Officer of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), called 2008 the year of the farm animal thanks to the 110th Congress. It reformed slaughter plant practices and took steps toward protecting the nation's food supply.

Congress-and the animal population-also won a significant victory by passing the Farm Bill. Major assets of the bill include measures to stop the importation of puppies for sale from foreign puppy mills, strengthened federal laws against animal fighting, and increased penalties for those who violate the Animal Welfare Act.

Another triumph during the previous congressional term was the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act, which established felony-level penalties and up to three years in jail for transporting animals across state or abroad for fighting purposes. To read more about animal welfare wins in the 110th Congress and in state legislatures across the country in 2008, click here.

To view the HSUS' priorities for Congress in 2009, click here, or hit the message board to list your top priorities for Congress.

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