As a lifelong animal lover and the proud guardian of two dogs, Bill is a strong advocate for domestic and wild animals alike. He is an active member of the Animal Protection Caucus and has consistently earned a 100% rating from the Humane Society. Bill recognizes that protecting pets, farm animals, and wildlife is both a moral and economic imperative, and he is honored to stand up for those who do not have a voice.
PROTECTING DOMESTIC ANIMALS
Animal cruelty and the crime of animal fighting have no place in our society. Bill strongly supports the protection of domestic and farm animals, and encourages stringent enforcement of animal crimes. In 2014, he was recognized by the Humane Society for his steadfast support as one of only 44 Members of Congress to receive their top rating and was presented with their Legislative Leader Award.
Among the many animal protection initiatives that he has supported, Bill is proud to be a cosponsor of the Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act. This legislation prohibits extreme acts of violence against animals when they occur in interstate or foreign commerce, including the puppy mill trade. By complementing existing legislation in all 50 states that makes malicious acts of cruelty against animals a felony, the PACT Act ensures that animals will also be protected on federal property and in interstate commerce.
As a proud dog guardian, Bill understands firsthand that pets are an irreplaceable member of the family. And so, he was proud to combine his work as a former District Attorney and his personal appreciation for pets’ roles within family units as a cosponsor of the Pets and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, which makes it harder for domestic abusers to prey on their battered partners and their pets. Specifically, this legislation responds to the situation of an estimated one-third of domestic violence victims who delay leaving an abuser out of fear for their pet’s safety by guaranteeing that restraining order protections for pets are upheld across state lines.
He has also cosponsored the Pet Safety and Protection Act, which serves to prevent stray animals – who may be lost family pets – from being sold to laboratories by placing restrictions on those sales.
Further, while research is critical to making medical advancements, Bill believes that testing cannot be conducted at risk of harming the animal. To this end, Bill cosponsored the Humane Cosmetics Act, which would phase out the testing of cosmetics on live animals and the sale of animal-tested cosmetics. Tests conducted on rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, and mice for assessing ingredients have been found to be unreliable predictors of human reactions, making this practice not only cruel but unnecessary.
Finally, Bill is concerned by the rate at which horses are subjected to extreme cruelty in order to further the economic engine of horse shows and racing. He is a cosponsor of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, which improves upon existing federal law to strengthen the enforcement of prohibitions on the cruel practice of “soring” in which trainers inflict pain on the hooves and legs of horses to gain an unfair advantage when showing, exhibiting, or selling the horse by forcing the horse to perform an unnaturally high-stepping gait. He has also cosponsored the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, which would protect horses and consumers from the dangers of slaughtering horses for human consumption by prohibiting the interstate transport and export of U.S. horses to slaughter.
COMBATTING GLOBAL POACHING AND ILLICIT WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING
Bill is committed to protecting all wild animals, especially those that are endangered or at risk of being listed as endangered. He has consistently opposed legislative measures that would erode protections for endangered species and is a strong supporter of the Endangered Species Act. Among these initiatives, he is proud to cosponsor the Big Cats Public Safety Act, which would address the public safety and animal welfare concerns associated with private ownership of big cats and other wild animals by banning private ownership. The legislation would also protect conservation efforts by ensuring that accredited zoos, qualified sanctuaries, and state universities can continue to care for and display them. He is an original cosponsor of the Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement (ORCA) Act, which would responsibly phase out the captivity of killer whales.
Further, Bill believes that, in order to protect wildlife, such as rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, and sharks, from poaching and illegal trafficking, it is critical to cut off their demand. In his role as Ranking Member on the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee, Bill has partnered with his colleague Ted Poe, Chairman of the Subcommittee, to push for a review of the United States’ efforts to combat international wildlife trafficking. They held a Subcommittee hearing on anti-wildlife trafficking with the three co-Chairs of the President’s Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking from the Departments of State, the Interior, and Judiciary. Together, they then authored an amendment, which was included in the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, that would require the Director of National Intelligence to produce a report on wildlife trafficking. This amendment and subsequent report will ensure that the intelligence community has the information it needs to effectively fight the threat of wildlife trafficking and understand the link between trafficking profits and terrorist organizations, like al Shabaab and Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.
Bill is also an original cosponsor of two important pieces of legislation to combat global poaching: the CECIL Act and the Global Anti-Poaching Act. The CECIL Act (Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large Animal Trophies Act) would curb the sport killing of species that are proposed to be listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The Global Anti-Poaching Act would support anti-poaching efforts around the world by strengthening the capacity of partner countries to counter wildlife trafficking, and identifying those that have failed to prevent this devastating crime.