Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Accountability is the watchword of our efforts to secure the passage of animal-friendly federal legislation. We are accountable to our supporters as well as to the animals we seek to defend, and we never forget who we’re working for. This means that we also work continuously to hold elected officials accountable for their track records wherever the interests of animals are concerned. Our annual Humane Scorecard is a tool to gauge where members of the House and Senate stand on our core priorities, and its publication makes their records plain to the world.

One of the striking features of this Scorecard preview for the first session of the 117th Congress is the high number of co-sponsors we’ve secured for six of the most promising measures in play, counts that have jumped significantly since we first notified offices which bills we’re scoring. The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, to end that infamous training barn cruelty against Tennessee walking horses and related breeds, has 242 in the House and 51 in the Senate (H.R. 5441/S. 2295). The Big Cat Public Safety Act, addressing the plight of captive tigers, lions and other big cats and the problem of unqualified persons keeping such animals, has 241 in the House and 40 in the Senate (H.R. 263/S. 1210). The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act, to curb the devastating effects of the shark fin trade, has 228 in the House and 34 in the Senate (H.R. 2811/S. 1106). The Puppy Protection Act, to address gaps in welfare standards for tens of thousands of breeding dogs and puppies, has 182 in the House and 33 in the Senate (H.R. 2840/S. 1385). The Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act, to prohibit the reopening of horse slaughter plants in the U.S. and export of American horses for slaughter, has 171 (H.R. 3355). The Preventing Future Pandemics Act, to end the import, export, and sales in the U.S. of certain live wildlife for the primary purpose of human consumption and bolster international efforts to halt the global wildlife trade, has 152 (H.R. 151).

These are outstanding tallies, and each one of these bills enjoys strong bipartisan sponsorship and support. That’s not an accident. We put our muscle behind the measures we think can pass in the Congress, and right now, more than ever, bipartisan energy and action is what makes their passage possible. We’re fortunate that animal protection consistently garners that kind of support, even in these polarizing times. And co-sponsorship—particularly when it's solidly bipartisan—is one of the strongest possible signals to congressional leaders that a bill deserves to be considered on the floor.

We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to advance several if not all of these measures in the 117th Congress, securing committee consideration, expanding strong alliances, getting floor votes or seeing the bills go through as amendments or elements of larger congressional legislative packages.

Increasing co-sponsor rosters builds momentum for action. That’s where you come in. We’re sharing the scorecard with congressional offices and asking them to sign on to the bills we’ve chosen to score, and you can do the same with your U.S. representative and two U.S. senators. Check out their current status on these bills and reach out to make sure they know that they still have time to boost their scores and that it’s important to you that they do so.