Breaking news: U.S. House votes to crack down on dog and cat meat, wildlife trafficking

By on September 12, 2018 with 10 Comments

For many years now, Humane Society International has been at the forefront of a hot war against the dog and cat meat trade across Asia. We have taken on many high-profile fights and we’ve made tremendous progress, from pushing back hard against China’s Yulin dog meat festival to shuttering dog meat farms in South Korea to getting a commitment from the Indonesian government to ban the dog meat trade. We’ve also asked millions of citizens living or traveling in the countries where dog and cat meat is served to “just say no” when they sit down to dinner.

But even as we ask the people in other countries to stop eating dog and cat meat, and press their legislatures to ban it, we need to send out a loud and clear message here at home. As I explained in a recent op-ed in The Hill, we have to make it clear that in the United States too, where the trade exists, albeit on a much smaller scale, eating companion animals is not okay. Today, the U.S. House did exactly that by passing the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act, H.R. 6720, which makes it illegal to knowingly slaughter, ship, transport, move, deliver, receive, possess, purchase, sell or donate a dog or cat or his or her parts for human consumption, and authorizes a fine of up to $5,000 for each violation. The bill, introduced by Reps. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., and Alcee Hastings, D-Fla, passed by a voice vote following a terrific floor debate by Reps. Ralph Abraham, R-La., Stacey Plaskett, D-V.I., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and Hastings.

The House also adopted a resolution urging other nations to end the dog and cat meat trade, following strong floor statements by Reps. Ed Royce, R-Calif., Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., Hastings, and Dina Titus, D-Nev. H. Res. 401, introduced by Reps. Hastings and Buchanan and passed by voice vote, is over the finish line now, as House resolutions don’t require action by the Senate or the president. The resolution urges the governments of China, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, India and other nations to adopt and enforce existing laws banning the dog and cat meat trade.

Ending the consumption of dogs and cats and shuttering thousands of dog meat farms is a top priority for HSI. Passage of the bill represents an important expression of unity with Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines and Singapore, which outlawed the dog meat trade, and Hong Kong and Taiwan, which banned the cat meat trade. It also helps serve as an example for other countries that could take action to end trade within their borders, including China, South Korea, Vietnam, India and Indonesia.

In another key victory for animals today, the House passed, again by voice vote, a bill that would crack down on global wildlife trafficking. The Rescuing Animals with Rewards (RAWR) Act, H.R. 6197, was introduced by Reps. Dan Donovan, R- N.Y., and Joaquin Castro, D- Tex., and Reps. Royce, Engel, Donovan and Titus all spoke strongly in favor of it during the floor debate. It would authorize the U.S. State Department to make cash awards for information on wildlife trafficking. The RAWR Act is an important step in the defense of wild animals like elephants, rhinos, and pangolins whose numbers are dwindling at an alarming rate because of the illegal wildlife trade.

Trafficking in wildlife is one of the most lucrative illicit activities in the world, involving tens of billions of dollars, and the United States is a big part of the problem, as one of the world’s largest markets for wildlife and wildlife parts and products. The situation is even worse here, because American trophy hunters are active in poaching and illegal trade. We need a bill that says to them and to every potential buyer or seller of such products, “don’t do it, just don’t.” The survival of some of the world’s most charismatic wild species is at stake.

The action now moves to the Senate and we hope lawmakers will work swiftly to approve both the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act and RAWR. The dog and cat meat ban mirrors provisions the Senate already passed in July as part of its Farm Bill, and approving it is a no-brainer. More than 30 million dogs and millions of cats are killed for their meat each year across Asia, and it is time we do all we can to stop this ugly trade for good. Please call your Senators and ask them to vote to pass these two important pieces of legislation to stop the cruel trade of our companion animals and preserve wildlife. It’s a one-two punch that shouldn’t be hard to deliver.

Companion Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. Fran Leard says:

    That’s a good start and I hope it goes well for all the animals, however, they need to also heavily prosecute the sick low life cowards who continue to hurt and abuse our innocent animals.

    They have dragged their lazy butts too long on these issues.

    Thank you for all your organization does to help all animals.

    • Amandajane Hellier says:

      Yes that is true! We are slowly getting there Fran a very hard fight as the Global leaders are hell bent on destroying this beautiful world whether they know it or not?Take my Country for instance terrorising and interfering in wildlife (illegal/cruel/untrue accusations) Trophy Hunter’s (Mr Trumps very rich friends…do me a favour and I will do back) Much like disgusting lazy rich nobs hunting Foxes and now Cubs heartbreaking and that is just the tip of the cross. Love respect hope kindness always forever.

      • Mary says:

        I absolutely agree with everything you say – if we don’t stop this evil trade in dog and cat meat, pangolins for their beautiful scales, donkeys for their hides and evil Chinese medicine and last but not least hunters with nothing better to do but murder animals so they can put a grotesque head on their wall. God help us all if it doesn’t stop and soon!!!


    • Kathy S says:

      Fran, you said it all for me. Enough with looking the other way when it comes to cowards who abuse animals. They need to get serious with penalties.

  2. Lyle Gordier says:

    This is such good news. However, I have a question that I’m sure you can answer. Did Pres. Trump lift the ban on trophy hunting or not? Some reports are confusing. If he did lift the ban, will this new law prohibit trophy hunting?
    Thank you so much for all the good that you do. It made my day.

  3. Claudia Ferguson says:

    Thank you for getting it through. We need to rescue and prevent this everywhere. It makes me want to go to those countries and raise hell and bring cats and dogs home!

  4. pru says:

    This is great news….how long have you been fighting this cause… has there been steering groups taking this forward in all other countries…it just seems a mammoth task …how is it getting out there…I suppose thats what im trying to ask.

  5. Katie E says:

    As abhorrent as it is to us in the Western hemisphere that other countries eat dogs and cats aka “companion animals”, we main line hamburgers like it’s going out of style. The cow is a sacred animal in India. Who are we to judge what is an appropriate “protein” and what isn’t for another country? Mass slaughter of farm animals in the US and Canada is just as inhumane as the dog meat farms in South Korea. I am a total animal lover, but this seems incredibly hypocritical of us to enforce our food values on another culture, when we do not follow suit and are still carnivores as well.

  6. Stephenie Framilla says:

    For the love of God, when will there be an end to the abuse and torture by soring and other barbaric methods of the Tennessee Walking horses? They CRY in their stalls, suffering from acid rubbed in their hooves! All so that Humans get awards! Please! These helpless animals are beaten and tortured so that HUMANS can celebrate and receive awards! The intentional cause of misery and pain to these animals is heinous and despicable. Please stop the savagery!

  7. Denise Donnelly says:

    I hear they torture them cutting off tails,legs, tying legs behind backs,skinning them alive,boiling alive,torching alive,the list goes on and on. Do t the have any animal abuse laws…… Horrible. What a bunch of cowards this must stop now. God bless e very one trying to stop the torture these dogs are family not food

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