President Biden signed House Resolution 2617, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023” which contains several animal-related provisions, including:
- removal of the Food and Drug Administration Act requirement for animal testing in drug development;
- an additional $4 million in funding for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Animal Care Division;
- reiteration of the prohibition on teachable moments and a requirement that APHIS inspectors document all observed Animal Welfare Act non-compliances;
- more than $4 million for Horse Protection Act enforcement, in part to combat horse soring;
- strengthening the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act;
- a directive to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to continue revising the trophy hunting import permitting process, and to report back to Congress about any additional actions regarding protecting lions and other iconic species that are hunted for trophies to ensure the conservation and survival of those species;
- the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act, which calls for phasing out the use of large harmful mesh drift gillnets that trap and kill large numbers of non-target marine species, including whales, dolphins, and sea lions in federal waters;
- a last-minute policy rider that gives the lobster fishing industry six more years to avoid key conservation measures aimed at preventing right whales from becoming entangled in fishing gear.
More details can be found in the associated bill summaries and explanatory statements.