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
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.