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

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: 

August 21, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today joined Representatives Kurt Schrader (D-OR-05), Ted Yoho (R-FL-03), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09) and Chris Collins (R-NY-27) in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking him “to do everything possible to vigorously enforce the Horse Protection Act” as the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration begins in Shelbyville, Tennessee.  

The letter reads in part: 

July 25, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) applauded today’s House passage of the U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, to prohibit the intentional injury to the hooves and legs of performance walking horses such as Tennessee’s iconic walking horses. The vote was 333 to 96.

March 26, 2019 Press Release

 

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) was the only member of the Tennessee Congressional delegation to receive a perfect score on the Defenders of Wildlife Conservation Report Card for the 2nd Session of the 115th Congress.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

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

February 27, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Representatives Steve Cohen (TN-09), Peter King (NY-02), Dina Titus (NV-01) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) today introduced the Horse Transportation Safety Act, a measure to ensure the safe and humane treatment of horses on roads and highways by ending the exploitation of a regulatory loophole designed to ban transport of horses in double-deck trailers.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

January 28, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a member of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus and a prime sponsor of two anti-animal cruelty bills in the last Congress, again received a “100+” score from the Humane Society of the United States for his leadership on its issues.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement: