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America competes act

What is the America COMPETES Act and how can it strengthen protections for wildlife?

What is the America COMPETES Act?

It's a comprehensive, legislative package to strengthen America’s competitiveness in a global market by creating new investments in research, innovation, and American manufacturing. In addition, the House version of the bill includes a number of positive amendments for animal welfare that address: wildlife trafficking laws, measures to prevent future pandemics, and practices that are harmful to ocean life.  

How does the America COMPETES Act strengthen wildlife trafficking laws?

In short, the America COMPETES Act amends and strengthens the LACEY Act, which was the first wildlife protection law in the U.S., passed in 1900. The Lacey Act Amendments are one of several provisions included in the bill to combat the global wildlife trade and wildlife trafficking.

The Lacey Act Amendments would prohibit the movement across state lines of certain species that have been deemed invasive or injurious to the environment or humans. The species that are labeled “injurious” are not suitable pets, and thus the America COMPETES Act would help to limit the illegal wildlife trade.

If passed, the law would continue to allow people to own exotic pets. It merely means individuals would not be allowed to move certain species across state lines. Wildlife sanctuaries and zoos will still be allowed to exhibit and care for every species they currently work with.

 

How can the America COMPETES Act prevent future pandemics? 

It would ban mink farming, due to the cruelty of the industry and the risk of spreading contagious diseases such as COVID-19. Hundreds of mink farms have had outbreaks of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the past few years, made more likely by the inhumane conditions which the animals are kept. Not only would this act improve animal welfare, but it would also improve public health.

How would the America COMPETES Act help ocean life? 

It would improve protection for sharks by banning the sale, purchase, and possession of shark fins in the U.S. It would also provide funding to local governments and nonprofits to rescue and rehabilitate marine mammals in need. Additionally, it would reduce bycatch—animals unintentionally caught by fishing nets—by banning certain types of nets that accidentally kill and injure many animals every year. 

Different versions of the America COMPETES Act have recently passed in the House and Senate, and the bill is now going through the process of reconciliation. We hope that these important animal welfare provisions make it through this process.  

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