Animal Rights

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One of my priorities in Congress has been to fight for better treatment of animals everywhere – in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild.

I successfully led the effort to end the U.S. Coast Guard’s use of live tissue training, in which live animals were used for medical instruction for Coast Guard personnel – a practice which was cruel and unnecessary, given that state-of-the-art interactive human simulators are a less costly, more effective, and more humane way of teaching emergency medical care practices.
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have pressured the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to stop using Class B animal dealers to acquire cats and dogs for research studies, and I successfully directed the Agriculture Department to stop licensing these dealers.  Unlike reputable Class A dealers who are specifically licensed to breed and sell animals needed for research, Class B dealers buy animals from “random sources.”  Those animals include false-pretense adoptions from animal shelters, stolen pets, illegally trapped strays, and animals sold by pet owners who are misled about why the cats and dogs are being acquired.

Another major focus of my animal welfare work has been the ethical treatment of primates in research.  I was instrumental in compelling the NIH to stop experiments in which infant monkeys were taken away from their mothers at birth and intentionally psychologically traumatized.  I have also worked hard to encourage the timely retirement of chimpanzees from research laboratories to a federally owned primate sanctuary. 

I am grateful to have received the first-ever Courage in Leadership Award from PETA for my work on behalf of the humane treatment of animals, particularly my efforts to improve accountability for animal welfare and to put a stop to wasteful government spending that exploits animals.  In addition, I am proud to have been honored by the Humane Society of the United States with three Legislative Leader awards, two Humane Advocate awards, and a Humane Champion Award.  I have also received perfect scores on the Humane Society’s Humane Scorecard and the Animal Welfare Institute Compassion Index.  Additionally, I have been awarded an inaugural Congressional Waste Warrior Award from the White Coat Waste Project for my work to prevent cruel and wasteful experiments on animals.
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