Save Fish and Reptiles From Unrestrained Cruelty and Abuse

Target: Congressman Michael Conaway, Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture

Goal: Don’t allow cold-blooded animals to be abused and exploited for private gain.

The Animal Welfare Act of 1966 remains the only piece of major federal U.S. legislation that affords protections to animals. While the law ensures that animals dealers, researchers, and exhibitors be licensed and meet certain standards for animal housing and care, the Animal Welfare Act currently only covers warm-blooded mammals. Despite numerous revisions to the law since its enactment, cold-blooded animals remain excluded. These animals deserve respect and protection as well.

Without more protections afforded by the Animal Welfare Act, more animals will suffer – especially the cold-blooded animals that have never been covered under the act. Just as an example, consider the plight of the Siamese fighting fish, more commonly known as betta fish. In pet shops and retail stores across the country, these fish must endure an ‘existence’ in a small cup that would scarcely hold a few sips of drinking water.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and its Animal and Plant Health Inspection division are responsible for enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act and provide some guidance for punishing violators, but only amendments can change the act’s current guidelines. Unfortunately, some recent amendments have been detrimental to animal welfare. One of the more recent, for example, excluded birds, rats, and mice from protection, a measure especially controversial since rats and mice are largely used in research laboratories. The responsibility for amendments to the Animal Welfare Act ultimately falls to Congress — with the House and Senate agriculture committees playing an especially prominent role.

Sign this petition and demand that House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Michael Conaway use his influence in advocating for a legislative amendment that provides cold-blooded animals the same chance at a quality life as their warm-blooded counterparts.


Dear Chairman Conaway,

Every living being on this planet can experience pain and suffering. Our government took a major step toward recognizing this fact with the passage of the Animal Welfare Act of 1966. Our leaders have failed, however, to live up to the spirit of the law.

While ensuring the welfare of animals for sale or for exhibit is admirable, we must extend these protections to all animals. For the Animal Welfare Act’s entire existence, cold-blooded animals have been unreasonably excluded from protections. As a result, these animals suffer hardship and abuse from unregulated sellers and exhibitors on a daily basis. Too many reptiles, fish, and other excluded animals face lives in inhumane living conditions with minimal mind paid to basic necessities such as housing and sustenance. And for far too many, death is the inevitable outcome.

The world is beginning to recognize the importance of animal welfare with promising proposals like the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare. We demand that the United States government join the rest of the world and take the necessary measures to affirm that its Animal Welfare Act truly represents all animals.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Franco Folini

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  2. Jaime Perez says:

    Reptiles deserve to be treated with compassion and kindness also.

  3. KatWrangler WELCH says:

    Leave it to Those In Charge to find a way to exclude living creatures. If a living thing is catagorized under the Animal Kingdom, it deserves protection and respect. Period.

    Warm-blooded vs cold-blooded, my arse.

  4. Mike – the scales of justice must be equal for all of God’s creatures. Every living thing on this planet has its place and all in the Animal Kingdom deserve our respect and protection!

  5. Lisa Zarafonetis says:

    Signed & shared

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