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Blumenthal, Kennedy, Quigley, & Reschenthaler Introduce Legislation to Strengthen the Animal Welfare Act & Hold Abusers Accountable

Bicameral, bipartisan bill allows civil action against abusers & removal or relocation of animals in danger

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and John Kennedy (R-LA) and U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) introduced the Better Collaboration, Accountability, and Regulatory Enforcement (CARE) for Animals Act, legislation strengthening the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) enforcement power against animal abusers. By bolstering the Animal Welfare Act, the bicameral bill would allow DOJ to levy civil penalties against abusers, suspend and revoke their licenses, and remove or relocate animals who may be experiencing harmful treatment.

“This bipartisan measure gives DOJ the tools it needs to hold animal abusers accountable,” said Blumenthal. “Civil penalties and suspensions of abusers’ licenses will give the Animal Welfare Act the strength and enforcement it needs to protect animals and keep them out of harm’s way. Mistreatment and neglect has no place in our society. I’m proud to join my colleagues in this bicameral effort.”

“Far too often, researchers, breeders and dealers mistreat animals. I’m proud to help introduce the Better CARE for Animals Act to ensure that law enforcement has the authority to punish people who have a hand in the mishandling of animals and rescue these creatures from dangerous environments,” said Kennedy.

“When shocking AWA violations at the Envigo breeding facility came to light, DOJ acted. In the process, they helped thousands of animals avoid further mistreatment. As we saw with the Envigo case, DOJ has proven their effectiveness and should be provided equal authority to USDA to hold bad actors accountable,” said Quigley. “This legislation will support them in their mission of protecting innocent animals and enforcing the Animal Welfare Act.”

“The Better CARE for Animals Act provides for important animal protections, encourages stronger collaboration between departments, and empowers our law enforcement to combat abusers,” said Reschenthaler. “As a member of the Animal Protection Caucus, I’m proud to support this legislation and advocate for the better treatment of innocent animals.”

Specifically, the Better CARE for Animals Act provides DOJ with the same enforcement authority as the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the Animal Welfare Act and further gives the DOJ authority to seize and remove animals that are suffering mistreatment.  

The Better CARE for Animals Act is endorsed by the Humane Society Legislative Fund. 

“The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) was passed to protect animals, not protect the regulated industries that use them. Unfortunately, a commitment to enforcement has lagged to the point of endangering animals, including the ones bred and sold by dealers and shown by exhibitors. Congress must act by strengthening the enforcement tools under the AWA to protect animals from the worst abuses and the worst offenders,” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “I’m grateful to Senators Blumenthal and Kennedy, as well as Representatives Reschenthaler and Quigley for introducing the Better CARE for Animals Act, which strengthens the hand of DOJ to bring justice for animals who deserve greater protection under federal law.”

Senate text of the legislation can be found here. A companion bill was introduced in the House.