Animal Welfare

How we treat animals is a direct reflection of our character, both as individuals and a nation. Throughout my legislative career, both as a state Senator and as a Member of Congress, I have sponsored and supported legislation to ensure the humane treatment of animals, as well as to protect our nation’s wildlife. I am proud to be a member of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus and to have had The Humane Society of the United States and Defenders of Wildlife recognize my voting record with a 100% rating.

Ending Horse Soring

Horse “soring” is a cruel practice that some trainers use to ensure that their horses walk with a desired high-stepping gait, such as the Tennessee Walking Horse. I sponsored the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act to end this cruel practice.

Protecting Wildlife

I cosponsored the Refuge From Cruel Trapping Act to ban the use of possession of cruel body gripping traps in the Natural Wildlife Refuge System.

Animal Cruelty

As a State Senator in Tennessee, I sponsored legislation to make aggravated animal cruelty a felony, as well as legislation that allow owners to receive damages in cases of intentional or negligent acts resulting in the death of a pet.

I have cosponsored legislation such as the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, which would extend federal jurisdiction to cases involving intentional crushing of animals. Additionally, I cosponsored the Pet and Women Safety Act to prohibit threats of acts of violence against a person’s pet under the offenses of stalking and interstate violation of a protection order.

Animal Use in Research

We cannot as a government allow abuse towards animals in research to continue.  Our humanity is diminished when we not only allow but actively sanction and financially support such abuse.

To end these abuses, I cosponsored the Animal Welfare in Agricultural Research Endeavors Act, which would close the loophole in the Animal Welfare Act that exempts U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) from adhering to federal animal welfare standards. I also cosponsored the Battlefield Excellence through Superior Training Practices Act, which would require the Department of Defense to conduct research on human-based simulation training methods and replace live tissue training by 2020. Live tissue training is inflicting wounds seen in combat situations on animals for the purposes of surgical training by medical personnel.

More on Animal Welfare

March 23, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) again received the highest possible score from the Defenders of Wildlife on its 2020 Conservation Report Card for 14 critical votes during both sessions of the 116th Congress.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

“I’m dedicated to working hard to protect our wildlife and its habitats. I am proud and encouraged by this acknowledgement of my voting record by Defenders of Wildlife.”

March 16, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Representatives Steve Cohen (TN-09), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Vern Buchanan (FL-16) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) today led a letter with more than 100 Members of Congress asking Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to publish a rule to prevent the intentional harming of horses known as “soring” that the Obama Administration was days from publishing in 2017 when Vilsack previously served as Secretary. The rule was withdrawn by the Trump Administration.

February 8, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Representatives Steve Cohen (TN-09), Dina Titus (NV-01) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) today re-introduced the Horse Transportation Safety Act that would ban the transportation of horses across state lines in “double decker” trucks or trailers containing two or more levels stacked on top of one another. Congressman Cohen, a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, last year applauded the inclusion of the Horse Transportation Safety Act in the House-passed Moving Forward Act. Congressman Cohen has championed the measure since 2008.

February 4, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) was pleased to announce today that he has been named to the House Natural Resources Committee which has jurisdiction over the nation’s energy and mineral resources; national parks, public lands and wildlife refuges; wildlife conservation, clean water and outdoor recreation.  One of Congress’ oldest committees, it can trace its jurisdiction to the Public Lands Committee created in 1805.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

December 3, 2020 Press Release

 

WASHINGTON – Today, Representative Steve Cohen (TN-09) joined Reps. Dina Titus (NV-1), Brian Mast (FL-18) and 18 other House colleagues in introducing the bipartisan Cat Abuse in Testing Stops (CATS) Act to permanently end painful and unnecessary taxpayer-funded experiments on cats by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

November 25, 2020 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a longtime member of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, today led a letter to House Leadership requesting it retain his Interior and Environment appropriations amendment requiring the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to utilize $11 million in funding for humane, reversible fertility control for tens of thousands of wild horses and burros under the BLM’s protection. 

The letter reads in part: 

September 6, 2020 Press Release

 MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) released the following statement after learning of the passing of his friend, former State Senator Curtis Person:

July 2, 2020 Press Release

 

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, today applauded the inclusion of H.R. 1400, the Horse Transportation Safety Act, in the Moving Forward Act, that passed the House today. Congressman Cohen has championed the measure since 2008. Congressman Cohen introduced H.R. 1400 last February with Representatives Dina Titus, Brian Fitzpatrick and Peter King. This bill has since amassed 128 other bipartisan cosponsors.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

June 16, 2020 Press Release

 

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a member of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, today announced that Memphis Animal Services will receive a $25,000 grant from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to address fundraising shortfalls during the coronavirus pandemic. The funding is part of the ASPCA’s $5 million Covid-19 Relief and Recovery Initiative.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

January 15, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today questioned expert witnesses at a hearing on “An Update on the Climate Crisis: From Science to Solution” before the Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Congressman Cohen asked about the health consequences of extreme heat and air pollution, the impact of climate change in terms of the extinction of rare species and the impact of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. 

Toward the end of his questioning, Congressman Cohen, an advocate of banning single-use plastic bottles and eating utensils, said: