Washington, D.C. – Animal Wellness Action announced its endorsement of U.S. Senator John Neely Kennedy for his leadership and steadfast support on animal welfare issues in the Congress.
Senator Kennedy is the leader author of the Bear Poaching Elimination Act, S. 3472, to halt the killing of bears for their gall bladders and bile. The bipartisan legislation addresses two problems: 1) thousands of bears in China are cruelly confined in small cages while bile is extracted from their gallbladders to be used in cosmetics and Chinese medicine, and 2) and in the U.S., federal and state officials have revealed that poachers kill American bears for their viscera, putting species at risk and causing inhumane treatment to supply this illicit market. Of the eight bear species in the world, many are in peril, and the presence of any legal trade puts them all at risk because bladders are indistinguishable by species. It wasn’t until 2016 that the Louisiana black bear was removed from the federal list of endangered and threatened species.
The senior Senator from Louisiana is also one of the original cosponsors of the FDA Modernization Act. S. 5002 passed unanimously on September 29th, just shy of a year before he introduced the original measure (S. 2952) with Senators Rand Paul, R-Ky,, Cory Booker, D-N.J., Mike Braun, R-Ind., and Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., to eliminate a federal mandate for animal testing for all new drug development as overseen by FDA. The revised measure, S. 5002, includes both the FDA Modernization Act and also the Reducing Animal Testing Act, which was originally introduced by Senator Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., to eliminate a Public Health Service requirement for animal testing for biosimilar drugs.
“Senator Kennedy is one of the leading animal welfare advocates in the U.S. Senate, working to protect pets, to safeguard the Louisiana black bear from poaching rings doing business with China, and to stop needless and often unreliable animal testing on beagles and other animals here at home,” said Wayne Pacelle, president at Animal Wellness Action. “Sure, he’s the most entertaining U.S. Senator, but he’s also got a heart of gold when it comes to animal welfare.”
- Needless Animal Testing. The FDA Modernization Act 2.0 eliminates a decades-old statutory mandate for animal testing in drug development that claims the lives of as many as 59,000 beagles, 68,000 primates, and more than a million other animals. This mass loss of life, preceded by pain and torment for these hapless animals, comes without much of any benefit to human health. Between 90 and 95 percent of drugs found safe in nonclinical tests fail during human clinical trials. Adverse reactions to drugs are the nation’s fourth leading cause of death.
- Animal Cruelty Enforcement. Senator Kennedy in the 116th Congress was one of the co-authors of the Animal Cruelty Enforcement (ACE) Act to create an Animal Cruelty Crimes section within the Department of Justice. There is a well-established link between malicious animal cruelty and other forms of social violence. More than half of the mass shooters at schools and other public settings committed acts of cruelty to animals before turning their violent instincts to people.
- Eliminating Horse Slaughter for Human Consumption. Neguse is a cosponsor of the Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act that would permanently end the slaughter of equines on U.S. soil, and the transport of equines over state and federal lines for that purpose.
“Senator John Kennedy understands that all of God’s creatures deserve merciful treatment,” said Marty Irby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action. “I am so grateful he works so hard to secure funding and capacity to enforce our laws so that perpetrators of animal cruelty cannot confidently walk city streets.”
Kennedy has worked to return dogs owned by Americans and stuck overseas by burdensome and unfair rules established by the U.S. Center for Disease Control. He has also worked to seek sanctuary for chimpanzees retired from federal research facilities, including at Chimp Haven, the national chimpanzee sanctuary in Keithville, La. And he has pushed for more funding, in his capacity as a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, to urge funding for enforcing our animal welfare laws.