Smith Honored as Humane Society Legislator of the Year
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) received the Legislator of the Year award from the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund on Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol, for his leadership in “path-breaking animal protection legislation” in 2017 in Congress.
“I have long worked to ensure that animal welfare laws are properly funded and strongly enforced,” Smith stated. “I am pleased to be honored as a leader on this issue—we must ensure that any and all horrifying abuse and exploitation of all types of animals is stopped.”
The Humane Society Legislative Fund stated that “For 18 years, Rep. Smith has been the lead Republican mobilizing his colleagues to seek needed funds and provisions to enforce key animal welfare laws. Working closely with Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., he has steadily built bipartisan support, with a record 184 Representatives joining the effort in 2017 and 190 this year.”
“Their joint annual letters to the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee have been remarkably effective—for example, more than tripling funding for the Animal Welfare Act (which requires basic standards of care for millions of animals at breeding operations, laboratories, zoos, and other facilities) from $9 million per year in the 1990s to $30.8 million in FY18, despite challenging budget constraints,” the group stated. “These letters have delivered results on a wide range of concerns, including enforcement of laws on animal fighting, humane slaughter, and soring of Tennessee Walking Horses and related breeds, as well as programs to ease the shortage of veterinarians in underserved areas and to address the needs of animals in disaster planning and response.”
The group also issued its 2017 Humane Scorecard, compiled each year to track the votes and efforts of Members of Congress to promote animal welfare and safety.
Recently, Smith co-led a March 26 letter with Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA) to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, asking the Secretary to suspend the USDA’s proposal to outsource oversight of animal facilities to private industry—a proposal that could seriously affect the quality of oversight of commercial breeding operations, medical laboratories, zoos, and other facilities, to ensure animal welfare and safety.
Smith helped lead the effort to secure animal welfare funding in the FY2017 and FY2018 omnibus. He has also, in the past, led efforts to push the USDA to address the disappearance of Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and Horse Protection Act (HPA) inspection records online; he has also fought for proper enforcement of those laws.
Smith has previously been honored by the Humane Society of the United States with the 2007 Humane Champion Award, the 2009 Legislative Leader Award, the Humane Champion Award for his leadership on animal protection legislation in 2011, and the 2014 Legislative Leaders Award.