The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) commends the United States House-Senate conference committee for rejecting provisions that would have been harmful to animals in the final version of the Farm Bill, which was released last night, while retaining measures that will benefit animals.
“AWI thanks the Farm Bill conference committee for working diligently to produce a bill free of riders that would have seriously undermined animal welfare,” said AWI President Cathy Liss in a statement. “We consistently sought a bipartisan bill that would provide better protections for animals and we’re happy with the results.”
“AWI was actively engaged throughout the negotiation process, communicating our priorities directly to conference members and their staff. We’re thrilled to see that the final product will benefit animals,” said Nancy Blaney, director of government affairs at AWI.
The following provisions of the Farm Bill conference report (H.R. 2, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) will significantly benefit both animals and public safety:
Section 12502 incorporates the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act. The correlation between domestic violence and animal abuse is well documented. Few resources are currently available to assist these survivors, leaving many trapped in the cycle of violence. With this provision, more resources will be made available to meet the housing needs of survivors with pets, while law enforcement will be equipped with additional tools to protect them from their abusers.
Section 12515 prohibits the slaughter, as well as the import/export of dogs and cats for human consumption. While not common in the United States, these practices are still legal in 44 states. Ensuring that it is illegal throughout the country is integral to ending this horrific trade worldwide.
Section 12616 extends the Animal Welfare Act prohibition on animal fighting to U.S. territories. Animal fighting is illegal in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia. However, cockfighting remains prevalent – and legal – in U.S. territories. Section 12616 closes this loophole and outlaws this cruel activity regardless of where it occurs in the country.