Making Headway on Capitol Hill

On Opening day of the 111th Congress, Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) reintroduced the Shark Conservation Act of 2009 (H.R. 81). A similar measure to strengthen the pre-existing Shark Finning Prohibition Act was passed by the House of Representatives on a voice vote in July; however, the Senate was unable to take action on the bill before the session ended, necessitating its reintroduction in this Congress.

Due to a loophole in the current law, the wasteful and inhumane practice of shark finning—whereby the fins of a living shark are cut off, and the animal is thrown back in the water to die—continues. If passed, the Shark Conservation Act of 2009 will close this loophole.

The first weeks of the new Congress also saw the reintroduction of the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (H.R. 503), a bill designed to end the slaughter of American horses for human consumption. The bill was first introduced in the summer of last year and passed out of the House Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by the bill’s primary sponsor, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.). Representative Dan Burton (R-Ind.) also returned as a primary sponsor.

With the bill’s early introduction and his skilled leadership, Chairman Conyers has demonstrated his desire to see this bill pass. More than 100,000 American horses were exported to Canada and Mexico last year for slaughter. Passage of this bill will stop that trade.

In addition, AWI continues its efforts to ban the use of cruel traps, require federal law enforcement to track violent crimes against animals, restore protections for America’s wild horses and burros, end the sale of dogs and cats for experimentation by random source dealers, and much more through its legislative and regulatory work.