Budget 2023 anticipates progress for animals

Good news for animals! The House Appropriations Subcommittee this week introduced its bill to fund the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for fiscal year 2023. We are happy to share that it contains several ASPCA-supported measures that will help improve the lives of animals for the years to come.

Victory for American horses

For the first time, the bill calls for a permanent ban on horse slaughter within the United States, marking a significant milestone in our fight to protect American horses!

Federal funding for American slaughterhouses has been banned since 2007, but it must be renewed annually, and this puts American horses at risk every year. In a demonstration of broad bipartisan support, more than 100 members of the US House of Representatives have signed a letter calling for a permanent ban on horse slaughter.

The bill also allocates more than $4 million to improve enforcement of the Equine Protection Act, which bans “inflicting” — the horrific practice of intentionally inflicting pain on horses’ legs and hooves for an unnatural and exaggerated gait. The bill requires the USDA to use these funds to ensure that horses at shows and law enforcement are vetted by agency officials.

Fight bad breeders

The bill contains clear language to reform the USDA’s approach to enforcing the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). For decades, the agency has failed to live up to its responsibility to protect animal welfare, instead prioritizing the interests of puppy mill operators, animal exhibitors, animal carriers, and animal testing laboratories. The ASPCA urges the USDA to treat animal welfare violations at puppy mills seriously and shut down the offenders, rather than turning a blind eye to chronic cruelty. We are pleased that the subcommittee included language in the bill that would prevent funds from being used for ineffective and harmful policies and ensure that future abuses are documented.

Progress for people and pets

The subcommittee has allocated $3 million in additional funding for a critical grant program that allows people fleeing domestic violence to reunite with their pets.

Your advocacy efforts have made a difference

Thank you for answering our calls to action and urging your legislators to support these actions – you’ve made a difference! However, our work to secure these victories is far from over. The bill awaits a vote in the full Appropriations Committee after which it will be presented to the Senate. We must make sure that these life-saving proposals are included in the final bill.

Call your legislators today to ask for their support on important spending measures to protect animals, including dogs in puppy mills, horses that may be at risk of slaughter, farmed animals that deserve better lives, and trapped pets in cases of domestic violence.

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