10 Big Bills We Need to Pass for Animals This Year

Last year was certainly an interesting one, and while we celebrated a lot of victories for animals, there’s always more we can do to move towards a world where they’re protected from harm. There are now a number of bills pending in Congress that could significantly change things for the better. Some of them have been on the agenda for a while and have yet to pass, despite support, while others have been recently introduced. The new year offers us a chance to tell our representatives to make the following 10 bills that protect animals a priority:

The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act  

A few years ago The Humane Society of the United States released disturbing undercover footage that brought the cruelty inflicted on gaited horses to get them to achieve an unnaturally high gait otherwise known as the “Big Lick”to a much wider audience. Despite the public outrage that ensued, and abuse that continued to be exposed, legislation has yet to be passed that would protect them from this horrifying abuse.

The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (H.R. 1847), will hopefully end some of the worst abuses found in the industry by banning action devices, including stacks and chains, ending the industry’s self-regulation and strengthening penalties for violations.

Please sign and share the petition urging Congress to protect gaited horses by passing the PAST Act.

The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act

Hundreds of thousands of horses are tragically still at risk of being shipped abroad to be slaughtered for human consumption. Not only are the transport and slaughter methods used for horses considered inhumane, the consumption of their meat also poses a serious health risk.

The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 113/S. 1706) will ban horse slaughter in the U.S., and ensure that horses are not shipped across the border for that purpose. Not only will it protect horses from inhumane treatment and slaughter, it will also protect us by keeping inherently problematic slaughterhouses out of our communities and ensuring taxpayers aren’t footing the bill for inspections, in addition to keeping toxic horse meat away from consumers.

Please sign and share the petition urging Congress to take a stand against this predatory industry by passing the SAFE Act.

The Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act

It’s called the Pet and Women Safety Act (H.R. 909/ S. 322), but this bill aims to protect all victims of domestic violence with companion animals, regardless of their gender, by ensuring they don’t have to make a choice between their own safety and that of their beloved pets.

According to the bill’s sponsors, as many as 25 percent of domestic violence survivors have returned to an abusive partner out of concern for their pet, while other surveys have found that nearly half of battered women put off leaving a dangerous situation out of concern for their pets’ safety, while between 49 percent and 86 percent reported that their pets had been threatened, harmed or killed by abusive partners.

The PAWS Act will expand federal law to include protection for companion animals and will establish a grant program for shelters to make accommodations for them, which will help keep both human and animal victims safe.

Please sign and share the petition urging lawmakers to help ensure all victims of domestic violence have the ability to leave, knowing their pets will be safe.

The Dog and Cat Meat Prohibition Act

Animal advocates have been fighting to end the dog and cat meat trade in countries including China and South Korea, where hundreds of thousands of animals are brutally killed for their meat. While it seems like something that would never happen in the U.S., killing dogs and cats for their meat is technically still legal in 44 states.

The Dog and Cat Meat Prohibition Act (H.R. 1406) would ban the slaughter, trade, import, and export of dogs and cats for human consumption, and supporters hope it will keep this trade from ever taking a real hold here, in addition to setting a moral precedent.

Please sign and share the petition urging Congress to to take a stand on this issue and set an example for the rest of the world by passing this legislation.

The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act

As apex predators, sharks play a critical role in maintaining healthy marine ecosystems. Sadly, populations around the world are declining rapidly and it’s estimated that more than 70 million are being ruthlessly killed every year just for their fins.

While some states have acted to protect sharks from this brutal trade, the U.S. is still playing a major role by importing and exporting shark fins, and as a transit country for shipments of shark fins.

The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act (H.R. 1456/ S. 793) would ban the import, export, possession, trade, and distribution of shark fins and products containing shark fins, eliminating the need for further state legislation and reducing our contribution to this inhumane and unsustainable trade.

Please sign and share the petition urging Congress to protect sharks by passing this important piece of legislation.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act

A few years ago, many people were disturbed and upset after hearing news about videos that show small animals being intentionally tortured and killed in what are more commonly known as “crush videos” or “crush porn.” While a law was passed banning the creation, sale and marketing of these sickening videos, it didn’t address the underlying cruelty being inflicted on animals.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act (S. 654) will help address that problem by extending federal jurisdiction to cases involving these disturbing acts of cruelty and increasing penalties for those involved.

Please sign and share the petition urging Congress to protect both animals and the public from those who engage in these heinous acts of animal cruelty.

The Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA)

While wild animals have been used in circuses for decades, we now know so much more about what they need to be physically and psychologically healthy and the evidence shows that traveling circuses can never meet their needs, even with the best of intentions. Around the world, 34 nations have ended the practice, but the U.S. is lagging behind.

The Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (H.R. 1759), would end the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling circuses once and for all, over concerns about both their welfare and the safety risks they pose to us.

You can show your support for this critical legislation by signing and sharing the petition asking Congress to pass the TEAPSPA.

The Humane Cosmetics Act

We’ve continued to celebrate as a growing number of countries around the world have stepped up to end the inhumane and unnecessary practice of testing cosmetics on animals, but the U.S. has yet to join them. Banning the practice will do more than just end the suffering of animals used in cruel and painful tests, it will also benefit us by encouraging the continued development and validation of more alternatives that are cheaper, faster and more reliable.

The Humane Cosmetics Act (H.R. 2790), which was reintroduced this summer with bipartisan support, will make it illegal to conduct or commission animal testing for finished products and ingredients, in addition to banning the import of products that have been tested elsewhere.

Please sign and share the petition urging your representative to support passing this to both end the suffering of animals in labs and to ensure companies in the U.S. can compete in an increasingly cruelty-free global marketplace.

The Big Cat Public Safety Act

It’s currently estimated that there are more than 10,000 privately owned big cats in captivity across the nation. While some states have laws banning the private possession of big cats, others have weak or no laws in place at all, leaving big cats to suffer in any number of situations that can range from simply not meeting their needs to being downright abusive.

The Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R. 1818) would strengthen existing federal legislation by closing loopholes to prohibit both private ownership and breeding of big cats in the U.S., with exemptions for sanctuaries and exhibitors who are licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Please sign and share the petition asking Congress to protect both us and big cats by passing the Big Cat Public Safety Act.

Refuge From Cruel Trapping Act

Since the first National Wildlife Refuge was designated in 1903, hundreds of refuges  have been created and 150 million acres of land and water across the nation have been protected. These refuges now provide homes to hundreds of species, including those who are endangered and threatened, and they draw millions of visitors each year.

Unfortunately, even though these refuges were created as havens for wildlife, many of them are also places where wildlife can be targeted by commercial and recreational trappers. Today, trapping is shockingly allowed in an estimated 300 refuges, which is more than half of the nation’s 566 refuges within the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The Refuge From Cruel Trapping Act (S. 1919) will ban the possession or use of body-gripping traps, including snares, Conibear traps, and steel-jaw leghold traps, within the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Please sign and share the petition urging members of Congress to support and co-sponsor this important piece of legislation that will make refuges the havens for wildlife they were meant to be.

Image credit: Kailen Gingell via Unsplash


hELEN hEARFIELD18 hours ago


Peggy B
Peggy Babout a month ago


Carole R
Carole Rabout a month ago

These are very important causes. We all need to stay on top of what is going on.

Renata B
Renata Babout a month ago

And stopping increasing the hunting areas. Good luck with all that; with the Trump's administration it seems to be a daily war bulletin.

hELEN hEARFIELDabout a month ago


Ruth S
Ruth S3 months ago


Sue H
Sue H3 months ago

An update on these bills would be nice.

Clare O
Clare O'Beara3 months ago

Humans and their livestock are 98% of the world's most populous mammals and birds. Wildlife has been eaten or habitation destroyed bringing it down to 2%. .

Clare O
Clare O'Beara3 months ago

look out for wildlife, the creatures do not have much room left.

Clare O
Clare O'Beara3 months ago

Some supposed refuges are just canned hunting sites. Linda Fairstein unveils the secret in one of her recent books. Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep are among the creatures slaughtered in this way.