Animal Rights: History and Scope of a Radical Social Movement

By Harold D. Guither | Go to book overview

12
Animal Protection in Congress

Congress and the executive branch set national policy for humane treatment of animals. Policies to regulate acquisition, care, and treatment of laboratory animals and to protect wild animals have been established. Attempts to mandate management practices for food animal production have not succeeded. The Congressional Friends of Animals was formed to keep abreast with animal welfare issues. The Animal Welfare Coalition was organized to counter animal welfare and animal rights influence among members of Congress. The Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus was viewed by animal activists as antienvironmental and unfriendly to protection of endangered species and marine mammals.

S tate laws and local ordinances to prevent cruelty to animals and provide animal shelters date back to the nineteenth century. However, national policy to enhance humane treatment of animals has occurred since World War II.


Protection Measures into Law

The successful legislative efforts fall into several categories: (1) humane treatment of animals in slaughter plants, in research facilities, and in transit; (2) protection of endangered animal and bird species; (3) protection of marine mammals, fish, and wildlife; (4) establishment of standards for conducting research with laboratory and other animal species; (5) protection and humane treatment of pets; and (6) antiterrorism control.

Members of Congress have introduced many bills on various aspects of animal protection. While some bills become law or are incorporated into legislation as amendments, others get only scheduled hearings or receive no attention (see appendix 5 for a detailed list of successful federal animal welfare legislation).


Federal Efforts to Stop Animal Terrorism

The death threat against Dr. John Orem at Texas Tech University prompted Congressman Charles Stenholm (Democrat, Texas) to introduce his bill making damage to animal research and production facilities a federal crime.

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