Animal Protection Measures Passed in U.S.; Planet is More Imperilled than Ever


As 2022 came to a close, President Joe Biden signed five animal protection measures. However, the reality hasn’t still sunk in regarding the future of our planet, which 60 Minutes on CBS covered on January 1 (the entire segment is imbedded at the bottom of this post).  At a global meeting of governments from around the world on Biodiversity in 2010 directives were made about what to do by 2022. However, not a single objective was accomplished. The planet isn’t waiting for governments to change their ways.

First, the good news: In recent days and weeks, as Animal Wellness Action and Center for a Humane Economy point out (and had a significant role in) these pieces of legislation:

FDA Modernization Act and Reducing Animal Testing Act
FDA Modernization Act 2.0 — includes both the original FDA Modernization Act and also the Reducing Animal Testing Act — to eliminate a long antiquated Federal mandate for animal testing for new drugs and for biosimilars. FDA Modernization Act 2.0 was fully bipartisan.

Big Cat Public Safety Act
Big cats, like lions and tigers, should NEVER be kept by private citizens or in facilities like seen in Tiger King on Netflix, which are not subject to standards which accredited zoos adhere to. Aside from significant animal welfare issues (which are endangered or threatened species), there are public safety concerns. The Big Cat Public Safety Act ends the odd but real practice of ordinary families having big cats, like tigers or mountain lions, as “pets.” It also shuts out the cub-petting industry, which breeds tigers and lions to allow patrons to handle cubs for a fee.

 Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act Statutory Repair
Animal Wellness Action, along with The Jockey Club, worked with key lawmakers in Congress to amend the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020, modifying a provision in the original law that a federal appellate court declared unconstitutional in November and which put the national ban on race-day doping of Thoroughbreds in jeopardy.

Record Breaking Funding for Enforcement of the Horse Protection Act
The latest Congressional spending bill, funding government operations in 2023, includes a record level of $4.1 million to enforce the Horse Protection Act (HPA) of 1970 — that’s $1 million more than the prior year’s record funding level of $3 million. This is consequential because some horse trainers torture horses to get them to exaggerate their gait and win ribbons at horse shows.

Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act
Shark fins must be eliminated from menus in the United States, with Congress passing the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law in December. This bill was seven years in the works and addresses the global mass killing of as many as 70 million sharks for their fins. Hopefully, other nations will follow.

Earth Could Experience a Sixth Species Die Off, Which Likely Has Begun

While the actions supported by Congress and signed by the U.S. President are positive, they don’t at all address what’s happening to our planet. The reality is that humans are just another species on the planet and impacted in ways (some yet to be fully understood) by the significant loss of animal and plant species. While some experts, such as Dr. Jane Goodall, remain unwaveringly positive, as she was in my 2019 conversation, others (as seen in the 60 Minutes report) are either pessimistic or realistic, depending on your perspective.

Also, do consider many of our pharmaceuticals, which save human lives, are plant derived. Also, as just a few examples, bats don’t become ill from most coronaviruses and why naked mole rats don’t get cancers. Once those secrets are revealed, humans will benefit. Speaking of bats, they are responsible for controlling the population of the animals which kills more humans than any other, mosquitoes. Examples go on and on, aside from the aesthetics of not having orangutans on the planet – not having these animals impacts all of us. And the fact is that at the rate we’re going so many species will only be found in zoos (if that) within several decades.