This week’s Take Action Thursday urges the Farm Bill conference committee to include measures that would benefit animals.
House of Representatives Bill, HR. 2, commonly known as the Farm Bill, must be passed by Congress every five years. This legislation covers a wide range of policies and programs related to agriculture, food and farming.
Currently, vastly different versions of this bill are being considered in a conference committee, one version supported by the House and a second version approved by the Senate. The legislation should have been finished by September 30, but conference negotiations are being delayed until after the mid-term elections, in the “lame duck” session of Congress.
The Farm Bill contains several provisions directly related to the treatment of animals, as listed below. (The section number for each provision is provided because of the length of these bills.)
- The House version of the Farm Bill, which is 748 pages, includes the language of the Parity in Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act or the PACE Act, to strengthen prohibitions against animal fighting (i.e., dogs, roosters, bears) and ensure that the law applies to all U.S. territories and jurisdictions (HR 4202/S 2971—House Sec. 11616).
- The Senate version of the Farm Bill, which is 1242 pages, includes the language of the Pet and Women Safety Act, making it an offense to cross state lines to injure a companion animal and extending protections against domestic violence to those animals. This measure would also fund efforts to establish of animal-friendly shelters for abused women (HR 909/S 322—Senate Sec. 12503).
- Both the House and Senate have also included the language of the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act, a ban on the interstate commerce of dog and cat meat, along with a strong prohibition on the consumption of dog and cat meat (HR 6720—House Sec. 11613/Senate Sec. 12521)
- The provision of most concern is only in the House version of the bill. The “King Amendment,” as previously reported in Take Action Thursday, would allow producers in states without any humane welfare standards (such as a ban on battery cages or gestation crates) to market their products in states that have enacted such reforms. This would make it virtually impossible for additional states to pass legislation mandating more humane (and costly) farming measures, because food produced with higher welfare standards would be too expensive to compete with cheaper products from other states. (House Secs. 11701 and 11702).
Let your U.S. Representative and Senators know that you strongly support the inclusion of animal-friendly provisions, but that you oppose the King Amendment in the final bill coming out of the Farm Bill conference committee.
Election Day Update
The results of the voting for state ballot measures we reported on in last week’s Take Action Thursday are in. Find the results here.