Animal advocates received an extra gift this holiday season when President Trump signed a federal spending package for the 2020 fiscal year that included several investments in animal welfare. National policy groups, such as the ASPCA and Humane Society of the United States, applauded the bill and thanked Congress for moving forward to protect animals across the country.
Wins for animals in the omnibus spending bill include:
- A $2 million grant program for those who help victims of domestic violence remain with their pets;
- A requirement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) resume online posting of all inspection and enforcement reports under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), including any information that identifies puppy mills, roadside zoos and other businesses cited for violations – information that was previously redacted;
- A direction to the USDA to record all AWA violations on inspection reports, as opposed to offering warnings or engaging in unrecorded “teachable moments”;
- An appropriation of $500,000 for the Food and Drug Administration to address certain pet food contaminations;
- A requirement that the Department of Justice review and report on its programs to prosecute animal fighting and animal welfare crimes;
- An appropriation of $8 million for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment program, which encourages veterinarians to locate in underserved rural or urban areas; and
- More than $31 million appropriated to enforcing the AWA.
These provisions and others reflect the increasing impetus to protect animals and prioritize animal welfare in our communities. We hope to see a similar sentiment reflected in our state legislature in 2020.
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