Animal Welfare

The way we treat animals reflects the values that we hold, and has a large impact on the livability and vitality of our communities. Congressman Blumenauer is a strong advocate for the protection of wild and domestic animals. He also works to protect the habitats of threatened and endangered species. 

Blumenauer’s support for animal rights has earned him a 100% favorable rating from the Humane Society of the United States in the 114th Congress as well as a reputation as one of the foremost advocates of animal welfare in Congress today. Blumenauer has sponsored or cosponsored over a dozen bills that have improved the lives of farm animals, pets, and animals around the world. In the 115th Congress, Blumenauer co-chairs the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus (CAPC) along with Rep. Buchanan (R-FL).

In 2007, in recognition of his leadership and commitment to animal protection, Blumenauer was named Humane Legislator of the Year by the Humane Society. 

"Representative Blumenauer has been one of the best and most effective voices for animal protection in the US Congress. On the major policy debates relating to animal protection, Rep. Blumenauer is in the forefront, and we are enormously grateful to him for his passion and leadership" — Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States

 

Protecting Domestic Animals

Blumenauer has lead the effort banning animal fighting and helping law enforcement combat its cruelty. In 2007, Blumenauer introduced the Animal Fighting Enforcement Prohibition Act which strengthened law enforcement against the barbaric crime of animal fighting.

In 2013, Blumenauer continued to champion the cause against animal fighting ventures by introducing the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act which prohibited any person from attending animal fighting events.  

In March 2014, Blumenauer, along with Rep. Chris Smith (R, NJ-04), authored a letter to the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, cosponsored by over 160 members requesting funds for the enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, Horse Protection Act, Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and federal animal fighting laws. The letter has lead to improved funding and oversight by the US Department of Agriculture of puppy mills, laboratories, roadside zoos, circuses, and helped ensure care for animals in disasters. 

In 2017, Blumenauer again led a multi-member letter to the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, calling for funding for enforcement of the Animal Welfare act, and Veterinary Medical Services Act, as well as federal animal fighting and other laws. That same year, Blumenauer called for language in the Appropriations bill restricting the use of funding for horse slaughter inspections in the FY 2018 spending package. Blumenauer and his colleagues also introduced the Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture Act to strengthen laws that prohibit the trade of obscene animal torture videos.

 

Protecting Farm Animals

Animals raised for human consumption deserve humane and compassionate treatment. Farms that raise and process livestock by more humane means expands choices for consumers. However, in 2014 80% of antibiotics administered in the US were used for farm animals to counteract unsanitary conditions. The overuse of antibiotics for farm animals has lead to a rise in antibiotic resistant diseases which have become a major public health problem and present a host of unknown impacts on our food supply. Blumenauer and Rep. Louise Slaughter urged the Office of Management and Budget to finalize regulation to curb the overuse of antibiotics in farm animals.

In June later that year, Blumenauer took his proposal before the House, introducing an amendment to the 2014 Farm Bill to strengthen the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Blumenauer's legislation aimed to help livestock producers reduce their use of non-therapeutic antibiotics and transition to organic farming practices and more environmentally-friendly pest management practices. Blumenauer also tackled the cruelty of Contained Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO's) in his Balancing Food, Farm, and Environment Act which sought to prohibit grant funding for the practice in the name of conservation.

In 2017, Congressman Blumenauer spearheaded the effort to increase funding in the Agriculture Appropriations Bill to enforce the Animal Welfare Act, Horse Protection Act, and Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, among other federal laws to protect farm animals. Joining Blumenauer were over 170 other members who supported funding for enforcement of regulations to protect farm animals, including those that require humane conditions in slaughterhouses.

 

Protecting Wild Animals

The health of wildlife, including those in urban settings, is directly linked to the health of the ecosystem. Congressman Blumenauer is widely recognized for his environmental efforts and commitment to preserving ecosystems for all the world’s animals.

Blumenauer introduced the Captive Primate Safety Act in 2013 and in 2009 which prohibits any person in the US from importing, exporting, or purchasing primates from foreign markets. The House passed the bill in 2009 but failed to pass it in 2013. Blumenauer continues to garner support for this legislation and share the story of Charla Nash, a strong supporter of the Captive Primate Safety Act and a victim of a chimpanzee attack in 2009.

Over the last three decades the African Lion population has declined 50% due to decimated habitat, disease, and poaching. In 2014 Blumenauer authored a letter urging the Department of Interior to identify the African Lion as an endangered species and for the US to accept responsibility as the leading importer of African Lion trophies. In December 2015, the African Lion was listed as a threatened species by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

In 2015, Blumenauer urged Interior Secretary Jewell to oppose legislative delisting of gray wolves from the Endangered Species list, and pushed the Obama Administration to finalize its regulations cracking down on the US ivory trade. Blumenauer also reintroduced the Captive Primate Safety Act which would amend the Lacey Act by adding nonhuman primates to the list of animals that cannot be traded or transported across state lines as pets. 

 

Protecting Research Animals

Congressman Blumenauer is a strong advocate for continued investment in new research technologies, particularly for medical advancements. He also realizes that Congress has a role to play in reducing the harm to animals used in research, testing and education, by promoting alternative methods.

In 2013, Blumenauer urged the director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, to abandon the use of chimpanzees in the field of biomedical research as modern medical practices and technologies have deemed the policy outdated and inhumane. In June, Dr. Collins listened and announced the retirement of virtually all chimpanzees in captivity and an end to breeding practices.

Blumenauer cosponsored the Pet Safety and Protection Act of 2013 which would ensure that all animals used in research facilities have been obtained legally through licensed dealers.

In 2015, Blumenauer championed several efforts to improve animal treatment during research. The Animal Welfare in Agricultural Research Endeavors Act would remove a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act that exempts animals at federal research facilities from being required to receive basic care. Blumenauer also led a letter to appropriators urging them to include language to reduce animal abuses at federal agricultural research facilities. Blumenauer called upon the Obama Administration to improve animal welfare at USDA facilities and asked that the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service provide oversight and inspections of facilities.

 

For more information on Congressman Blumenauer's efforts on Animal Welfare, look at this overview of his work.