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Senate Bill Introduced to Revive Monarch and Pollinator Habitat

Senate Bill 2918 proposes to establish a federal grant program to fund pollinator-friendly practices and habitats along highways. The full text of the bill is not yet available.

Federal Law Outlaws Creation and Distribution of Animal Crush Videos

President Donald Trump signed a bill into law that makes animal cruelty, specifically intentionally seriously harming an animal in the production of so-called “crush videos,” a federal crime. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act makes so-called “crushing” or the creation of “crush videos” punishable by a fine, a prison term up to seven years, or both. The law does not apply to customary animal management practices, the slaughter of animals for food, hunting or other sport killings not prohibited by Federal law, the use of animals in research and testing, measures taken to protect life or property of a person, or euthanasia of an animal. This law is meant to cure the deficiencies in a prior federal ban on crush videos that was struck down by the Supreme Court in United States v. Stevens.

“Real MEAT” Bill Companion Introduced in Senate

A Senate companion to the House Real MEAT (Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully) Act has been introduced in the Senate by Republican Deb Fischer. The bills propose to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require that any “imitation meat food product, beef, or beef product” both be labeled with the word “imitation” immediately before or after the name of the food in uniform size and prominence and include a “statement that clearly indicates the product is not derived from or does not contain meat.”

Congress Requires USDA to Restore Deleted Records and Maintain Records Going Forward

The House Amendment to the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, signed into law on December 20, requires that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture both restore all previously deleted records to its website and to make publicly available for the next three years unredacted versions of all Animal Welfare Act inspection reports, Animal Welfare Act and Horse Protection Act enforcement records, all reports and documentation of non-compliances observed by Department officials, and final Animal Welfare Act research facility annual reports.

House Announces Legislation to Reach Net-Zero GHG Emissions by 2050

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has released the legislative framework for the Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s (CLEAN) Future Act. The Act aims to make the United States achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The draft does not currently contain provisions specifically addressing the role of animal agriculture in climate change.

Florida Proposes to Protect Federally-Delisted Endangered Species

Florida House Bill 1067 would direct the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to continue to protect species even if they are delisted from the federal Endangered Species Act. The bill also recognizes that climate change is a threat to endangered species.

Vermont Proposes Meat Labeling Law

Vermont Senate Bill 206 would deem any meat or meat food product misbranded if the product was not “derived from or harvested from a carcass of cattle, bison, sheep, swine, domestic rabbits, or goats or from a poultry carcass.” The bill also prohibits selling or distributing any product labeled as meat, a meat product, poultry, or a poultry product unless that product contains “the part of the muscle of any cattle, bison, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules, or other equines that is skeletal or that is found in the tongue, in the diaphragm, in the heart, or in the esophagus, with or without the accompanying and overlying fat, and the portions of bone, skin, sinew, nerve, blood vessels that normally accompany the muscle tissue and that does not include the muscle found in the lips, snout, or ears” or the carcass of “any domesticated bird.” Conviction for violations of this law could result in two years of imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, or both, and it would leave the offender open to civil liability of $10,000 for each product in violation of the law.

Vermont Proposes Milk Labeling Law

Vermont Senate Bill 207 proposes to criminalize selling or distributing a food product labeled as “milk” or as a “dairy product” that is not or is not derived from “the pure lacteal secretion” of a cow or other livestock, unless that product conforms to a standard of identity adopted by the Food and Drug Administration. An offense would be punishable by two years of imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, or both, and it would leave the offender open to civil liability of $10,000 for each product in violation of the law.

Illinois Considers Legislation Protecting Companion Animals in Affordable Housing

Illinois Senate Bill 2973 would amend state law to prohibit the Illinois Housing Authority from restricting rentals of affordable housing to those with common companion animals, such as a dog or a cat, regardless of breed or size of the animal.

Maryland Introduces Meat Labeling Bill

Maryland Senate Bill 188 proposes to declare a food that contains animal tissue cultivated outside the animal from which the culture is derived, is made from plants, or is made from insects to be misbranded if it is labeled as “meat” or a “meat product.”