Press Release

Rep. Steve Cohen Wins Animal Wellness Action Endorsement for Congress

MEMPHIS, TN – Today, Animal Wellness Action, a Washington, D.C. non-profit focused on promoting legal standards to halt cruelty and to enforce those laws, formally endorsed U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, for re-election to the Ninth Congressional District of Tennessee.

“There’s no stronger advocate for animal welfare in the Congress than Rep. Steve Cohen,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action. “Whether he’s fighting to stop cruelty to horses, dogs, or wildlife, he’s the leader the nation needs on these issues.”

Rep. Steve Cohen speaks alongside Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., at a July 2019 press conference on the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act to end the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses

“We are proud to endorse Steve Cohen for Congress and applaud his tireless work to end six decades of abuse in the Tennessee Walking Horse breed and protect animals across the country,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action, and a past president of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association. “There’s been no member of the Tennessee Congressional Delegation in history that has persisted against all odds to end the painful practice of soring that continues to give the Volunteer State a black eye – he’s a much-needed knight in shining armor.” 

Cohen has been a leader on numerous animal protection measures in the U.S. House:

  • Cohen has long led the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act that would amend the 1970 Horse Protection Act to end the painful practice of soring – the intentional infliction of pain to Tennessee Walking Horses front limbs to induce an artificial pain-based gait known as the ‘Big Lick’ that’s prized at horse shows in Tennessee and Kentucky. The measure passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee in September.
  • Cohen joined in bipartisan fashion in introducing the Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act that would establish an Animal Cruelty Crimes Unit at the U.S. Dept. of Justice to help better enforce the Horse Protection Act, anti-cockfighting laws, and other anti-cruelty statutes on the books.
  • Cohen championed an $11 million appropriations amendment conceived by Animal Wellness Action that would help prevent our iconic American equines living on federal lands from being rounded up and incarcerated simply so cattle ranchers can raise cheap meat on public lands. 
  • Cohen led a letter calling on the USDA to crackdown against the painful practice of soring at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, the event where most of the abuse occurs in the showring.

Rep. Steve Cohen speaks alongside Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., at a July 2019 press conference on the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act to end the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses

Rep. Cohen has cosponsored and backed a broad range of other important reforms:

  • Cohen is working as a cosponsor of the FDA Modernization Act to stop needless, costly, and inhumane animal testing. The measure recently passed the U.S. Senate and would end animal testing mandates at the FDA by amending the 1938 statute – a Depression-era requirement for animal testing for all new drug development protocols, allow for alternative methods when validated, and help reduce drug costs and time to market for Tennesseans.  
  • Cohen cosponsored the MINKS Are Superspreaders Act to end mink farming in the U.S. as mink have proven to be the number one superspreader of COVID besides humans and have already spawned at least one new variant in the U.S;
  • Cohen cosponsored and voted for the Big Cat Public Safety Act, that would bar private citizens from keeping dangerous carnivores like lions and tigers in our communities;
  • Cohen joined a letter to the U.S. Postal Service Inspector calling on the Inspector to crackdown against illegal animal fighting shipments to Guam and other countries throughout the world.  Dogfighting and cockfighting, are often bound up with illegal gambling, narcotics trafficking, and human-on-humane violence.
  • Cohen cosponsored the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act that would ban the trade in shark fins in the U.S;
  • Cohen cosponsored the Greyhound Protection Act, that would effectively end greyhound racing in the U.S;
  • Cohen cosponsored the Bear Protection Act  that would help end the poaching of bear parts that produce bile used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. China has promoted the use of bear bile as a treatment for COVID-19 with no scientific basis, and poachers often kill the animal for one part and wastefully disregard the rest of the carcass.

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) whose mission is to help animals by promoting laws and regulations at federal, state and local levels that forbid cruelty to all animals. The group also works to enforce existing anti-cruelty and wildlife protection laws. Animal Wellness Action believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @AWAction_News