Thursday, August 12, 2010

2010 Pending Federal Legislation Affecting Animals

The Global Conservation Act—(H.R. 4959/S. 3508)—SUPPORT—if passed this bill would create an international conservation strategy for the U.S. government and provide the resources needed to turn the tide on the biodiversity crisis. It would make U.S. efforts to conserve biodiversity more effective and help coordinate those efforts across the federal government.

Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act—H.R. 3710—SUPPORT—if passed, this bill would ban all body-gripping traps, including snare, Conibear, and steel-jaw leghold, from being used on National Wildlife Refuges. This bill would make it illegal to trap on National Wildlife Refuges, thereby creating a safe haven for wildlife to dwell without unnatural and cruel threats. These traps kill indiscriminately—including pets and endangered species—whatever comes into their path. Steel jaw leg-hold traps clamp shut with bone-crushing force on an animal’s leg; the pain is so intense that an animal may chew off his or her own limb to escape on three legs. Conibear traps are designed to crush the animal’s spinal column for a quick kill. However, the trap often misses and clamps down on the chest or pelvis, crushing but not immediately killing the animal who suffers horribly. Snares are among the oldest form of trap, a simple noose made of thin wire, which tightens around an animal’s neck or body as he struggles to get away. For more information about trapping and the fur trade, please visit

Pet Safety and Protection Act—H.R. 3907 & S. 1834—SUPPORT—would prohibit Class B dealers (also called random source dealers) from selling dogs and cats for use in experimentation. Class B dealers sell non-purpose-bred dogs and cats for research. They are supposed to acquire the animals they sell only from other dealers, pounds and individuals who have bred and raised animals. However, they routinely fraudulently acquire pets, such as responding to “free to a good home” and even stealing pets to sell to laboratories. For more information about Class B dealers, please visit

Great Ape Protection Act—H.R. 1326/S. 3694—SUPPORT—If passed, this bill would end invasive research on chimpanzees and would require the release of approximately 600 federally owned chimpanzees to permanent sanctuaries where they would be allowed to live out their lives in peace. There are currently more than 1,000 chimpanzees in U.S. laboratories. For more information on the Great Ape Protection Act, please visit

The Truth in Fur Labeling Act—H.R. 2480/S. 1076—SUPPORT—This bill passed the U.S. House in June, 2010. However, the Senate still needs to approve S. 1076. This bill would require accurate labeling in all fur-trimmed apparel. Many fur-trimmed items are labeled “faux fur” despite the fact that they may contain small amounts of “real” fur. Since the 1950s, any fur garment sold in the U.S. has had to include a label indicating the species of animal used and the country of origin, but there’s a gaping loophole in the current law that excludes fur-trimmed garments if the value of the fur is $150 or less. At current pelt prices, that means a jacket could have fur on its collar or cuffs from 30 rabbits ($5 each), nine chinchillas ($16 each), three foxes ($50 each), or three raccoon dogs ($45 each), and be sold without a label. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that one in every eight fur garments doesn’t require labeling. If this bill is passed, all items containing fur must be labeled as such.

Great Cats & Rare Canids Act—H.R. 411/S. 529—SUPPORT--This bill has passed the U.S. House and is waiting to be voted on in the Senate. If passed, this bill would assist in the conservation of great cat and wild dog populations around the world, which have significantly declined. Financial resources would be provided to conservation programs in nations within the range of these animals' populations, and funding would be provided to those with demonstrated expertise in protecting these animals.

Shark Conservation Act—H.R. 81/S. 850—SUPPORT—This bill has passed the U.S. House but is still pending in the Senate. The purpose of this bill is to protect sharks from the cruel practice of shark finning (cutting off sharks' fins and throwing the sharks back in the water, often while still alive). Many shark populations have sharply declined and are labeled as threatened or endangered. Up to 73 million sharks are killed annually for their fins, which are used in shark fin soup, an Asian delicacy. Congress banned the practice of shark finning in 2000, but enforcement is complex and the law left open a huge loophole. To circumvent this law, sharks are often finned at sea, and the fins then loaded on another vessel for transport. Surprisingly, it is legal under the 2000 law to separate the shark fins from the carcasses at sea as long as the fins weigh 5% or less of the weight of the shark. This legislation closes a loophole that currently permits a vessel to transport fins obtained illegally as long as the sharks were not finned aboard that vessel. If the bill passes, the shark must be brought back to port with the fin and carcass intact and fins cannot be transferred to another vessel. For more information about shark finning, please visit For information about shark conservation, please visit