Breaking news: Farm Bill clears Congress; House votes to protect pets from domestic violence, outlaw dog meat and prevent animal fighting in U.S. territories

By on December 12, 2018 with 55 Comments

The U.S. House has just passed the Farm Bill, and we’re celebrating great wins for animals.

Most importantly, the bill does not contain the reckless King amendment, which could have nullified state and local laws that address, among other issues, prohibiting horse slaughter for food, the extreme confinement of farm animals, shark finning and puppy mills.

The bill does contain crucial animal protection provisions that we worked hard to enact. It bans domestic slaughter, trade and import/export of dogs and cats for human consumption, preventing this trade from ever taking hold here and giving our country greater standing to end it worldwide. It extends federal domestic violence protections to include pets at risk and authorizes grants to help domestic violence shelters accommodate pets or arrange for pet shelter.

Finally, it makes clear that federal prohibitions on dogfighting and cockfighting activity apply consistently across all U.S. jurisdictions, including the U.S. territories and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, where cockfighting has long been popular and openly displayed in large arenas.

The Senate voted to pass the Farm Bill 87 to 13 yesterday, but the battle was tougher in the House, making today’s actions more significant. In the end, the bill passed the House overwhelmingly by a vote of 369 to 47. It now heads to the president’s desk for his signature, and we urge him to swiftly sign it into law.

Kudos to our colleagues at the Humane Society Legislative Fund who have been working for years to fight the King amendment and secure the specific gains that were included in the bill. That amendment from Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, if included, would have undermined the work that states and localities do to protect their citizens by legislating 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. This is also a victory for HSUS staff who have worked hand in hand to build broad opposition to King’s egregious overreach that jeopardized so many of our state and local accomplishments.

This is also a victory for our work to end animal cruelty in all its forms, including dogfighting and cockfighting, and for our Humane Society International staff who are working to end dog and cat meat consumption around the world.

I’m personally heartened by this because I have spent a lot of time and energy to support our dog meat campaign, which has won worldwide attention and put Humane Society International at the center of efforts to stop the trade. And while the dog and cat meat trade is already outlawed by some states, a federal ban clarifies our country’s moral stand, helping our efforts to make a strong case when we press for reform in countries like China, South Korea and other countries where dog and cat meat are still eaten.

Finally, the Farm Bill acknowledges the case we have been making for a long while, that the nation should extend federal domestic violence protections to include pets, who are frequently among its victims.

We applaud members of Congress who worked to get these pro-animal measures into the bill, and saw them through to victory, as well as to ensure the King amendment was jettisoned. And we are grateful, as always, to all of you who called in and wrote to your federal lawmakers, asking them to vote for this bill.

Let’s celebrate this important win for animals today.

Companion Animals, Equine, Farm Animals, Humane Society International, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

Subscribe to the Blog

Enter your email address below to receive updates each time we publish new content.


Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Michele OBrien says:

    This is wonderful news and most importantly I am so glad that the amendment by King was not included in this bill.

    • Lori VerDoot says:

      I am so glad they passed this bill. Now if only someone could do the same for all the wild horses being sent to slaughter houses such as the one in Canada. Foreign countries still use horse meat as a staple and are buying the wild horses being sold at the auctions.

      • james avery says:

        what do you recommend we do with all the old and disabled horses in this world. using them for dog food and human consumption atleast the rancher can redeem a little bit of his money. They are livestock animals just like a cow or a chicken.

        • MJ says:

          Yes, it is all about money. Money, money. The cruel and unregulated horse meat industry is indefensible. Also, they slaughter old race horses, which are full of drugs and other toxins. Ick. Horses have been domesticated to work with humans in the way cows have not been. They are sensitive and tuned in and the shameful horse meat industry, which has no regulations for the treatment and slaughter methods, nor the transportation, nor the purity of the meat needs to be shut down. The conditions are unspeakably cruel. Better to shoot an old and disabled horse.

        • Richard Lasseter; PhD says:

          “Livestock” is an archaic term. I don’t own a horse and never have. But are you the type to kill and eat your old, disabled dog? Sure,. there may be more to it than that, but there’s a point to this argument.

        • Anonymous says:

          Horses are not meant to be eaten and you are sick.

        • Evelyn Ball says:

          Maybe you should grab a bit of humanity and compassion. Those animals are sentient beings. It’s humans like your ranchers who only think of money and nothing else that consider them livestock.

    • Norma Ray says:

      Good to know that you are paying attention Michelle.

  2. Afsaneh Rahmani says:

    KUDOS. Each day, animal rights activists have something good to show for their efforts. We’re gaining traction. Our ends are noble. Our fight won’t end until the life of every animal is respected.

    • Truth will set you free says:

      Yeah animal rights do every year more animals suffer in there hands then any where else. Look at how many animals are killed in there hands. They say they are for animal rights. If they really were the animal would have the right to live, and not be put down by them. What rights do they have taking away the animals right to live. Who gave them the power over the rights, i know the animals didnt give them consent. See they fight for what they take and you see that as a win.

  3. Dr. Gary L Goldberg says:

    So happy that these protections were passed and the King amendment was not included. I’m very grateful for all the work that the USHS does to protect animals.
    I’m hoping for a quick signature from President Trum

  4. Rebecca Kaufman says:

    Wonderful news.

  5. Katy McMullin says:

    This is wonderful! President Trump, please sign this bill to make it law.

    • Rhodna McMullins says:

      The President has to sign these changes. I want to thank Senator Dick Durban and Tammy Duckworth for their continued support for animals.

  6. Lori Barricelli says:

    This is all wonderful news!
    I do have a question, I feel like I’m missing something, dog and cat meat for food consumption is a thing in this country ??
    I can wrap my head around that even being a possibility! Some please respond to this question! Did I read this wrong? I know there are issues, concerning animals here in America. But I can’t beleive that one of them!
    In what states was it permitted to eat dogs and cats??

    • Mary says:

      It was legal in 44 out of 50 states in America. Does that not blow your mind??

    • Zoie McNeill says:

      Yes, but it is mostly symbolic. It gives policy makers more traction to condemn the international dog meat market.

    • MKAhlsen says:

      As of 2018, it is legal to eat dog meat in 43 states. The only states outlawing its consumption are California, Georgia, Hawaii, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia. It is, however, illegal in all states for slaughterhouses to handle dogs, and for stores to sell the meat.
      Dog meat – Wikipedia

  7. Carole says:

    Ate horses included?

  8. Gail Palandro says:

    this is fantastic news. thank you for your hard work and dedication to get this passed. i dont know if shipping horses to Mexico and Canada is a completely different issue but i wish it was addressed in this bill

  9. Kellie says:

    Dog meet trade in South East Asia is a horrific problem. So people migrated here and bring their cultures and beliefs here as well so who knows how prevalent eating dogs is? It has not been uncommon to hear rumors about certain restaurants for cats.

    • Truth will set you frew says:

      America has many different cultures. We should respect there culture if we agree with it or not. It’s there lives not ours so why cant they live there’s. We live ours how we want. It is considered racist to ban a race of there culture. People should live there lives how they want. If you don’t like how they live it stay away from them. We shouldn’t make laws just because we don’t like it. Every law that is past makes more outlaws. No one is going to stop because it became a law. We are the land of the laws, not the land of the free anymore.

      • MJ says:

        It is hard to take seriously anyone who can’t even spell the most basic words. Of course we should respect cultures. But the will of the people, as represented in laws, should be respected, too.

      • NJ Ray says:

        Truth? The real truth is just because something is a part of a culture does not make it right. We make laws to protect people from things that are harmful. You might not realize that what you like to do is harming others but if it’s illegal, don’t do it., You don’t get to choose which laws you want to obey. That’s not how it works.
        No one is going to stop just because it became a law? Really? That just proves that you have no respect for this country. You probably don’t have any respect for American people either, so why are you here? You are making a bad name for your own people that do love America and do have respect and want to live in harmony. America doesn’t owe you anything.

  10. Jody says:

    Can someone explain to me how this affects puppy mills? It mentioned puppy mills and dog fighting but didn’t specify how those two would be affected. I think mills should be illegal and dog fighter’s sent to prison.

    • mary says:

      The “King” amendment would have taken the power of the states to vote protections for animals. examples below of active laws in states that would have been no longer punishable.

      Prohibition on sale of horse meat for human consumption (Illinois)
      Prohibition on sale, distribution, and import of noxious or invasive plant species (Vermont)
      Prohibition on selling dangerous pesticides unless the label bears a skull and crossbones and the word “poison” and a statement of an antidote for the pesticide (South Dakota)
      Requirements for sale of raw milk (Arkansas)
      Ban on certain plant products that contain opioid properties (Alabama)
      Prohibition on the confinement of farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up and fully extend their limbs, and prohibition on the sale of those products (Massachusetts)
      Law making it a misdemeanor to knowingly sell or offer for sale any food product represented as kosher when the person knows that the product is not kosher (Washington)
      Environmental performance standards for agricultural operations (Wisconsin)
      Mandatory labeling requirements for genetically-engineered food, seed or seed stock (Connecticut)
      Limits on child labor among seasonal farm workers (Pennsylvania)
      Ban on the production and sale of infant food containers and baby food jars that include BPA (Vermont)

  11. Becky Strassner says:

    Great! Now let’s extend this to horses as they are our partners in recreational and therapy pursuits. Far too many are transported from here and slaughtered for meat.

  12. Elizabeth cruz says:

    Great news, i congratulated all of you whom made this work.

  13. Colts Western Shop says:

    We now have the problem of the Senate removing protections from horses by calling them Livestock only. They have to keep the COMBINED LIVESTOCK AND PETS STATUS. IM IMPERATIVE. STOP THE SENATE FROM PUSHING THIS THROUGH.

  14. John says:

    why they do not eliminate animal hunting in the United States and are getting into the customs of territories.

  15. E anderson says:

    According to my understanding: Problem is that they don’t categorize horses as pets but agricultural which opens them to be used as meat!

    • NJ Ray says:

      Have you ever been mis categorized ? Okay just scratch that. We all need to treat living things with more respect. If people just can’t stop eating meat then try to be more humane.
      If an animal is going to give its life to be your food, then why cant you have some respect for that animal. Let it have a good life. There is no need to treat it badly.

      American Indians depended on meat to survive and fur to keep them warm but they never killed anything for no reason. They always thanked the animal for giving its life. And they killed it as humanely as possible.

  16. Renee Calpin says:

    Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to protect our innocent defenseless animals in the U.S. and the world! We must continue to fight to stop the dog and cat meat trade, and protect the innocent. They are sentient beings!! President Trump please sign into law now!! Thank you Humane Society and all who signed petitions and wrote to their senators and congress!!!

  17. Jessica Flinch says:

    The Tennessee Walking horses need help. They endure terrible pain and hardship in the “big lick” category. But, there is big money there.

  18. MKAhlsen says:

    I grew up in Puerto Rico and never did get the appeal of cock-fighting. I always thought it was so gross and cruel. Mind you, my grandmother kept chickens for eggs and food but they were not abused. I am so glad this bill covers cockfighting in the USA, including Puerto Rico. Enforcement, particularly in the smaller towns in the mountains, will be difficult but I hope they actually do something about it.

  19. Roxy Martens says:

    “Save the animals,”what betters news could be found, and penalties and punishment must be enforced for the predators us humans!

  20. Jim Hilton says:

    What about puppy mills.

  21. Lisa alhazov says:

    The greatest news I heard in a while, brings hope back in humanity!!! I am a monthly donor for the humain society and happy to be part of this amazing change!!.

  22. Carlos Yunqué says:

    I am from Puerto Rico. I agree that cockfighting is cruel, and although it is a long-standing custom here, it has to go. However, wouldn’t it have been a better idea to persuade the citizens of Puerto Rico to voluntarily forego cockfighting or have it prohibited locally first than just forcefeed a prohibition to a U.S. COLONY through the often abusive might of the Federal government? Many animal lovers like myself abhor the mere idea of changing cultural attitudes towards animals through statute alone.

    • Truth will set you free. says:

      It want leave the island, it will go underground. The government gets money off of it now, they want when it is no longer legal. Puerto Rico will loose all that money and the tourist that came to watch or that entered. They will have to raise taxes or come up with another plan quick. That’s what no one is looking at.

      • NJ Ray says:

        I’ve been to Puerto Rico and I didn’t go to see animal cruelty. I had a good time and I spent money. They don’t have to rely on barbaric entertainment. They make plenty of money. There is a major cruise ship port there !

  23. Joolie says:

    I agree with outlawing cat and dog consumption in the USA where it’s inconsistent with conventional thinking, but who are we to say these two animals shouldn’t be allowed to be eaten in countries where it’s an accepted practice? The large majority of Americans consume beef, yet many nationalities wouldn’t consider it. Just because we disagree doesn’t make us right, or give us the right to try to force our beliefs on other nations.

    • Julia says:

      I have no problem with other countries eating dog and cat meat HOWEVER the cruelty to butcher them is sickening they shouldn’t be tortured alive because of a false claim that it’s tenderizing the meat or an I cant spell this forgive me, afrodeziac) there is no comparison to how we butcher here in America or Canada compared to there. We dont cut them up alive or burn them alive like they do to those dogs and cats!

  24. Darlene says:

    Thank you.I have friends in China who are fighting the dog and cat meat trade.No animal should be tortured like dogs and cats are and all animals.They deserve to be treated with compassion and loved as a pet. All cruelty has to stop for all animals.I am copying and sending to all my friends worldwide .

  25. Rose Miranda wolfgirl says:

    Praise God in Jesus mighty name finally

  26. Truth will set you free says:

    Yeah animal rights do every year more animals suffer in there hands then any where else. Look at how many animals are killed in there hands. They say they are for animal rights. If they really were the animal would have the right to live, and not be put down by them. What rights do they have taking away the animals right to live. Who gave them the power over the rights, i know the animals didnt give them consent. See they fight for what they take and you see that as a win.

  27. Marian Prato says:

    What about the barbaric slaughter of horses and the transporting of them to Mexico and Canada for that purpose? Also the PAST Act ending soring tactics on our Tennessee walking horses? That one has been pending for years. Also what about the BLM s continuous destruction of our wild horses while no one is keeping their corrupt tactics in check? Why is there not more push to end these things that destroy our horses in so many different ways Humane Society?

  28. Claudia Thresher says:

    Why on earth were the Wild Horses and Burros not included? The cruelty is unimaginable. Welfare Cattle Ranchers, goats, sheep, mining, oil and gas exploration on our Public Land. The horses are lower than the 1971 COUNT and dropping from that number when the Free Roaming Act was instituted. How can this not be addressed???? I’m stunned and disappointed in the Humane Society. Look at them being chased by helicopter in these roundups. Taken from the only life they know. Some 55,000 now in STORAGE. A disgrace for America.

  29. Renee says:

    Thank YOu so MUCH.. End this suffering.

Share a Comment

The HSUS encourages open discussion, and we invite you to share your opinion on our issues. By participating on this page, you are agreeing to our commenting policy.
Please enter your name and email address below before commenting. Your email address will not be published.