U.S. Representatives Christopher Smith (R-NJ) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and U.S. Senators Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Carl Levin (D-MI) recently circulated a letter aimed at seeking much-needed funds to improve the enforcement of animal welfare laws.  Although much work needs to be done to improve the Animal Welfare Act and the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, these laws substantially improve the treatment of thousands of animals every year.  The United States Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for enforcing these laws, is in desperate need for increased funding and cannot do its job properly without adequate funding.  For instance, the USDA has only 60 inspectors to oversee and regulate approximately 10,000 laboratories, puppy mills, circuses, zoos, airlines and other facilities.  Inadequate funding renders these laws meaningless, makes it impossible for the USDA to enforce these laws, and makes a mockery of the legislative process.  Florida Senator Bill Nelson signed the letter, while Senator Mel Martinez and Representative Jim Davis, Florida gubernatorial candidate for the 2006 election, did not sign the letter.  To see if your elected officials signed the letter, CLICK HERE