Update (2/13/2021): Unfortunately, the session ended before H.R. 8052 was voted on. Representative Neguse reintroduced the bill this session with H.R. 1016.
August 21, 2020
To Representative Joe Neguse for introducing H.R. 8052 that will create a division within the Department of Justice to oversee the enforcement of felony animal cruelty crimes.
The passage of animal welfare laws rely on the collective efforts of individuals, communities, leaders, lawmakers, and law enforcement agencies to further increase the protection and care for the animals in our world. This task is no small feat, and progress can be slow. At times, once these laws have passed, the human resources to properly enforce them are sorely lacking.
The Animal Care program of the USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is responsible for enforcing the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). That program is a prime example of resources spread too thin for effectiveness. The AWA provides guidelines that animal facilities–commercial breeders, animal exhibitors, animal transporters, and animal research facilities–licensed through the USDA need to follow to continue to operate. Annual inspections bring to light any violations of the AWA. Sadly, even if violations are found, some may continue their business. The number of facilities an APHIS inspector is responsible for can range anywhere from 45-50. (In 2019, 157 Animal Care inspectors were employed and, currently, there are over 7,000 licensed facilities throughout the U.S.) That number may be difficult to monitor annually, depending on the geographic location.
Representative Joe Neguse (D-CO) recently introduced H.R. 8052, The Animal Cruelty Enforcement (ACE) Act, to bring swift justice for the many animals who have suffered egregiously at the hands of abusers.
The ACE Act seeks to combat animal cruelty crimes such as animal fighting, animal crushing, and other brutal acts like starvation and lack of veterinary care that occur in poorly monitored facilities licensed through the USDA. The ACE Act will accomplish this by creating a specific team within the U.S. Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division who will focus on the enforcement of sentencing for these horrific crimes.
Take Action: Please contact your representative to show your support for The Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act today. Here is a helpful resource to call or write your representative.