It May Finally Become Illegal To Kill Dogs And Cats For Food In The US
You’ve probably heard about the horrible Yulin Dog Meat Festival held every year in China. And the dog meat trade in South Korea got a lot of publicity recently, thanks to Olympic athletes like Meagan Duhamel and Gus Kenworthy making headlines when they rescued dogs that would otherwise have been someone’s dinner.
What you may not be aware of is the disturbing fact that the killing of dogs (and cats) for food happens right here in the United States.
While killing dogs and cats in commercial slaughterhouses is against the law in the US, it’s otherwise legal to kill them for food in 44 states. Only California, Georgia, Hawaii, Michigan, New York and Virginia have laws prohibiting it.
“With the work of our international arm, which tries to stop this practice that’s especially common in parts of Asia, we’ve had instances when these countries say, ‘Well, why are you talking to us when this is still legal in your own country?’” Marty Irby, senior adviser to the Humane Society Legislative Fund, told McClatchy’s Kate Irby.
A year ago, U.S. representative Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.) introduced the Dog and Cat Meat Prohibition Act of 2017, an amendment to the federal Animal Welfare Act. The act, which has 239 co-sponsors, would prohibit people from knowingly slaughtering a dog or cat for human consumption.
It would also ban people from knowingly transporting, possessing, buying, selling, or donating a dog or cat to be slaughtered for human consumption, or dog or cat parts for human consumption. Violators could face a fine and/or up to a year in prison.
More recently, Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) introduced an amendment to the 2018 Farm Bill that’s just been passed by the House Agriculture Committee. Like the Dog and Cat Meat Prohibition Act, this amendment would prohibit people from “knowingly slaughtering a dog or cat for human consumption” and from knowingly participating in the other activities related to the pet meat trade.
The punishment for violators is a $2,500 fine and up to a year in prison.
“Adopting this policy signals that the United States will not tolerate the disturbing practice in our country,” Denham said, according to Politico.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) voted against Denham’s amendment, Politico reports. He said he doesn’t condone eating dogs and cats, but it’s traditional in other countries and he found it “a little tough” to imprison those who do it in the U.S.
It should come as no surprise that Steve King (R-Iowa) also voted against the amendment, since he has a history of opposing animal welfare laws (and once said dogfighting should be legal).
Unfortunately, the Farm Bill also includes a terrible amendment King himself introduced that would eliminate states’ rights to protect animals, warned Kitty Block, acting president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.
The Farm Bill, which authorizes all federal agriculture programs including food stamps and farm subsidies, is expected to become law by Sept. 30, 2018, when some existing programs start expiring, Bloomberg reports.
Before then, the Farm Bill is bound to get some tweaking. While Denham’s amendment needs to stay, King’s troubling amendment definitely needs to go.
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