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

December 14, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Representatives Steve Cohen (TN-09) and Dina Titus (NV-01) and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey today led a letter with 58 fellow Congressional colleagues to Senate and House Appropriations Committee and Interior Subcommittee leaders, requesting Interior Department appropriations language for the final Fiscal Year 2022 spending package that promotes the humane and fiscally responsible management of America’s iconic wild horses and burros.

October 1, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Representatives Steve Cohen (TN-09), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) and Vern Buchanan (FL-16) today introduced the 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.

July 29, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today questioned expert witnesses during a hybrid legislative hearing of 15 conservation bills before the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife. His line of questioning focused on unsustainable and illegal overfishing and the need to enforce existing laws, and whether primate pet ownership affects the decline of some species.

July 9, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a member of the Natural Resources Committee and a longtime member of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, released the following statement on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to round up wild horses on Sunday:

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: