Congress returns from its holiday recess today to begin the last half of its session. As they get back to work, it is important that your Congressman hear from constituents that support H.R. 3136, the Enforcement Transparency Act (ETA). Congressional support for H.R. 3136 is building and hearing from supporters like you will help ignite further interest in the bill.
NABR's Capwiz system makes it quick and easy to send a pre-written (but editable) message of support to your Congressman. Please take a moment to urge your Congressman to cosponsor and support H.R. 3136!
H.R. 3136 would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to release the guidelines used by Investigative and Enforcement Services (IES) at the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in the formulation of any civil penalties for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). This common-sense, bipartisan bill will provide the research community and the public a much greater understanding of how penalties are calculated for enforcement actions by USDA. Currently, USDA subjectively determines AWA penalties on a case-by-case basis, and the results are unpredictable and inconsistent. These guidelines were once publicly available, but in recent years USDA has chosen to deny the research community and Members of Congress access to them. The last available AWA penalty guidelines, which are still posted on USDA's website (see page 44), have been revised five times and are now outdated. To read NABR's talking points on the ETA, please click here.
This right to know is the soul of open, transparent government, especially when the issuance of financial penalties could impact American competitiveness. If the general public can have knowledge of other penalties like littering, jaywalking, or speeding, the same should apply to laws enforced by USDA.
Again, please contact your Congressman TODAY and urge him or her to cosponsor and support H.R. 3136. Click here to use NABR's Capwiz system to send an email directly to their offices and please encourage your friends, family, and coworkers to do the same.