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July 19, 2020

House approves funding for the Pet & Women Safety Act and for anti-soring enforcement.

Here, courtesy of the American Horse Council, is an update on Congress' funding of some programs affecting the horse industry, including enforcement of anti-soring regulations, and the Pet & Women Safety Act.

House Appropriations Committee Approves FY-2021 Ag Appropriations Bill

The House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year 2021 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies bill by voice vote. The legislation funds agencies and programs within the Department of Agriculture, the Farm Credit Administration, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the Food and Drug Administration. Total discretionary funding in the legislation is $23.98 billion, an increase of $487 million above the FY 2020 enacted level. In total, the bill allows for $153 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding, an increase of $331 million above the FY 2020 enacted level.

The Committee provided an increase of $2,300,000 for the Equine, Cervid, and Small Ruminant Health Program with APHIS-USDA. The package includes $3 million in funding for the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act that American Horse Council provided significant input on in the 2018 Farm Bill, and $2 million in funding for enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA) of 1970. The HPA amount represents a doubling in funding for enforcement of the law against horse soring. The FY2021 bill also maintains the current ban on horse slaughter in the United States by defunding the inspection of horse slaughter plants on U.S. soil–a provision that's been regularly maintained by the Congress since the last U.S. based plants were shuttered in 2007.

Also included in the final House Bill was a statement concerning the HPA-”The Secretary is strongly urged to reinstate and publish the final rule, Horse Protection; Licensing of Designated Qualified Persons and Other Amendments (Docket No. APHIS–2011–0009), as it was finalized and displayed in advance public notice in the Federal Register on January 19, 2017, with effective dates adjusted to reflect the delay in implementation.”

As well as the following reminders to Sec. Perdue-”The Committee provides $2,000,000 for enforcement of the Horse Protection Act of 1970 and reminds the Secretary that Congress granted the agency primary responsibility to enforce this law.” and,” The Committee also encourages the OIG to audit and investigate USDA enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, the Horse Protection Act, and the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act to help improve compliance with these important laws. “

The American Horse Council will continue to follow this as it moves through the Senate and Executive branch. If you have any questions please contact Cliff Williamson at cwilliamson@horsecouncil.org.

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