Breaking news: Senate approves Farm Bill minus King amendment; includes major wins for animals

By on December 11, 2018 with 2 Comments

Update! The U.S. Senate has just voted to approve the Farm Bill by a vote of 87 to 13. The bill did not include the dreaded King amendment that had the potential to nullify important state and local laws protecting animals, but senators approved three key measures that benefit companion animals. The House is expected to vote on the bill later this week, so stay tuned for more updates on the blog.

The Farm Bill is not the most rousing of legislative packages, when it comes around every five years or so, but it’s mighty important in our fight to protect animals. For us, and for the Humane Society Legislative Fund, it’s become a last stand against one of the most reckless proposals ever introduced in any legislature — an amendment that Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, has been attempting to foist upon his colleagues — and the rest of us.

Thankfully, the final Farm Bill language released last night by leaders of the U.S. House and Senate agriculture committees does not include the King amendment. So that dangerous amendment is going exactly where it deserves to go — nowhere.

The King amendment threatened to do immeasurable harm to animals, by nullifying state and local laws that address, among other issues, the consumption of horse and dog meat, ending the slaughter of horses, the extreme confinement of farm animals, shark finning and animals in puppy mills. But it also threatened to undermine the work states and localities do to protect their citizens in a broad range of policy areas, including food safety, child labor, opioids, pesticide exposure, fire-safe cigarettes, manure management and handling of diseased livestock. It was a straight-up attack on states’ rights to legislate to protect their citizens and animals, and it’s dead now.

The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund worked to marshal overwhelming opposition to the King amendment, bringing together a coalition of more than 225 groups across the political spectrum in opposition.

There was still more good news in the package released last night as it also includes language incorporating three animal protection bills that humane advocates have been working throughout the last session to push through:

  • The Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act will extend current federal domestic violence protections to include pets and authorize grant money to help domestic violence shelters accommodate pets (only three percent currently allow pets) or arrange for pet shelter. The measure was supported by a broad network of domestic violence, law enforcement, veterinary and animal welfare organizations and pet product companies. The bill was originally introduced by Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Reps. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.
  • The Dog and Cat Meat Prohibition Act will prevent this horrible trade from taking root here in the United States, and make it easier to advocate for its end worldwide. The consumption of dog and cat meat is already banned in some U.S. states, but if adopted, this provision in the Farm Bill would outlaw it nationwide. This gruesome trade kills some 30 million dogs and untold numbers of cats globally every year. Originally, the measure was introduced as a bill by Reps. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., and Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., and Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., played key roles in getting it included in the Farm Bill.
  • The Parity in Animal Cruelty Enforcement (PACE) Act clarifies that federal prohibitions against dogfighting and cockfighting activity apply to all U.S. jurisdictions, including the U.S. territories. The amendment will protect animals from cruelty, communities from associated criminal activity, and the public from disease transmission in the food supply. The measure was originally introduced by Reps. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., helped get it into the Farm Bill.

Our work keeping the King amendment out of the Farm Bill language and securing these excellent reforms is a significant achievement, but we have more to do. In the coming days, we will need to keep up the fight to get the Farm Bill passed in its current form. Your support has been crucial in getting us to this point, and we need one more thing from you. Please call your U.S. Representative and urge that they support the 2018 Farm Bill. Among other things, you can remind them that Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., worked hard to reach a strong bipartisan agreement on the Farm Bill. On those and other grounds, it deserves their support.

Undercover investigation exposes Petland’s treatment of sick puppies

By on December 11, 2018 with 1 Comment
Undercover investigation exposes Petland’s treatment of sick puppies

A dead puppy in the freezer. Puppies with hacking coughs and runny noses. Sick puppies confined to isolation. Overcrowded cages. These are just a few of the shocking details our undercover investigators found at two different Petland, Inc. pet stores last fall. It’s been 10 . . . 

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HSI rescuers battle natural and man-made disasters to help animals around the world

By on December 10, 2018 with 1 Comment
HSI rescuers battle natural and man-made disasters to help animals around the world

Every day, Humane Society International battles incredible odds to help and rescue animals in difficult and perilous situations, in countries scattered around the globe. The organization’s expertise and dedication is in evidence many times each year, whether they are responding within hours to a flood . . . 

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Pets in the workplace: Why we let the HSUS go to the dogs

By on December 7, 2018 with 0 Comments
Pets in the workplace: Why we let the HSUS go to the dogs

One of the great benefits of working at the Humane Society of the United States is that staff members can bring their pets to our offices. For me, that means Lilly, my sidekick, can come to work with me. She loves nothing more than visiting . . . 

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HSUS, HSI and partners sue U.S. over failure to protect giraffes

By on December 6, 2018 with 3 Comments
HSUS, HSI and partners sue U.S. over failure to protect giraffes

Giraffes are in desperate need of protection. There are fewer giraffes than elephants now in the wild, and if we are to protect these gentle and beautiful animals from going extinct, we need to act fast to keep them out of the sights of trophy . . . 

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A Humane Nation’s top 10 blogs of 2018

By on December 5, 2018 with 1 Comment
A Humane Nation’s top 10 blogs of 2018

This year has seen incredible wins for animals despite a steady onslaught of Congressional threats and agency rollbacks. On the one hand, there have been attempts to roll back protections for wild animals, like native carnivores in Alaska, and attacks on the Endangered Species Act. . . . 

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Historic win in California caps a year of major progress for farm animals

By on December 4, 2018 with 1 Comment
Historic win in California caps a year of major progress for farm animals

The year 2018 was a historic one for farm animals, with California passing the strongest law against farm animal confinement in the world. We successfully campaigned to protect chickens in the meat industry—moving major US companies to adopt comprehensive welfare reforms and spotlighting those lagging . . . 

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Mission complete: President Bush’s dog Sully transitions to new role helping veterans

By on December 3, 2018 with 21 Comments
Mission complete: President Bush’s dog Sully transitions to new role helping veterans

There has been so much to move the spirit over the 48 hours since we learned of the passing of George H.W. Bush, our 41st president. I was deeply touched by “Mission Complete,” the image of Sully the dog, keeping vigil by the late president’s . . . 

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A trophy hunter kills a beloved Yellowstone wolf, even as attacks on wolves in Congress intensify

By on November 30, 2018 with 10 Comments
A trophy hunter kills a beloved Yellowstone wolf, even as attacks on wolves in Congress intensify

The disturbing trophy killing of an iconic wolf from Yellowstone National Park is a grim reminder that American carnivores are under serious threat, with the states they live in doing precious little to protect them and the U.S. House voting just this month to strip . . . 

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Pets for Life lends a helping hand in hurricane-hit Corpus Christi to keep families, pets together

By on November 29, 2018 with 1 Comment
Pets for Life lends a helping hand in hurricane-hit Corpus Christi to keep families, pets together

Our trailblazing program, Pets for Life, is in Corpus Christi, Texas, on a special mission this week: to help launch a program that will bring relief to pets in communities still struggling to recover from the effects of Hurricane Harvey. As it happens, these are . . . 

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