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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  1. Why on earth would we exclude cold blooded animals? Are we heathen barbarians or simply amazingly STUPID!!!?? I think both!

  2. As someone who has owned and rescued lizards for nearly 2 decades, I can assure you that they are indeed sentient beings capable of love, affection and a myriad of other emotions.

    It’s time to recognize that!

  3. I don’t think any living creature should be subjected to any form of abuse. We’re not cavemen are we? Sometimes I wonder. It’s not just the cold blooded- somehow warm blooded- birds, mice and rats are not considered to merit protection, even when these unfortunates are too often tortured in laboratories, often when the results are of no use to humans! Something wants rethinking and tightening up. It’s bloody brainless! An insult to intelligence!

  4. Rosslyn Osborne says:

    Ye must not only have kind and merciful feelings for mankind, but ye should also exercise the utmost kindness towards every living creature.
    The physical sensibilities and instincts are common to animal and man.
    Man is, however, negligent of this reality and imagines that sensibility is peculiar to mankind, therefore he practices cruelty to the animal…..
    In reality what difference is there in physical sensations! Sensibility is the same whether you harm man or animal: there is no difference. Nay, rather, cruelty to the animal is more painful because man has a tongue and he sighs, complains and groans when he receives an injury and complains to the government and the government protects him from cruelty; but the poor animal cannot speak, it can neither show its suffering nor is it able to appeal to the government.
    If it is harmed a thousand times by man it is not able to defend itself in words nor can it seek justice or retaliate…..
    Therefore one must be very considerate towards animals and show greater kindness to them than to man…. Man is generally sinful and the animal is innocent; unquestionably one must be more kind and merciful to the innocent”. Baha’i Faith Writings
    Where does God exclude any of His creatures? They all feel pain and affection!!!

  5. gabriela torres says:

    How can the first country in the world have not included all kinds of animals in its Animal Welfare Act? Suffering is the same for big or small creatures … wouldn’t you think?

  6. NO animal should be excluded from humane treatment!
    Cold-blooded creatures suffer physically and emotionally, as do other animals and humans.
    I can’t believe that fact is not acknowledged and that the Animal Welfare Act doesn’t protect these vulnerable animals!
    Even warm-blooded mice, rats, birds, as well as cold-blooded reptiles, etc. deserve respect, protection–affection doesn’t hurt, either. Lab animals (which should be rarely used), pet store animals (which should be, also, be rare)should be free from abuse, treated with compassion

    Why are humans so often stupid and cruel to animals?! ALL living creatures deserve humane treatment. ALL animals should be covered by the Animal Welfare Act–which should be consistently enforced!

  7. Sandra Nealon says:

    All sentient beings deserve protection from harm.


  9. Gen Agustsson says:

    animals don’t belong to humans and humans don’t belong to animals. animals are not our property.

  10. Alice Knight says:

    Every living being on earth should be treated with respect, dignity and compassion. This world was not created to solely serve humans but every living being. Practice being a “human being good”

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