USA: Congress Rejects Dangerous Amendments & Supports Animal-Protection Measures in 2018 Farm Bill
Update—December 11, 2018: After months of negotiation, Congress released its final 2018 Farm Bill language last night. We are pleased to report the bill passes the important Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, rejects the harmful King Amendment, and includes important victories for our nation's animals. Learn more about the important advances made for animals in the 2018 Farm Bill by reading our latest News Post here.
The Senate’s Farm Bill contained the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, vital legislation that will protect victims of domestic violence and their pets by making crossing state lines to injure a pet a federal offense. The bill, authored by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Dean Heller (R-NV), will also allow victims to recover veterinary costs and establish grants to help house victims and their at-risk pets. The protections offered in the PAWS Act will help victims of domestic violence and their pets escape abusive environments and seek the safety and shelter they need.
Meanwhile, the House’s bill contained the Parity in Animal Cruelty Enforcement (PACE) Act, added via an amendment offered by Reps. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), John Faso (R-NY) and Steve Knight (R-CA), which seeks to end cockfighting in U.S. territories by closing loopholes that prevent the federal prohibition of this heinous crime. Additionally, Congress included a federal prohibition on the consumption and trade of dog and cat meat in the U.S. While the final language is not as strong as the original House passed provision, it is a stride in the right direction for animals.
Congress rejected the King Provision, or the so-called “Protect Interstate Commerce Act.” This provision, included in the House version of the Farm Bill, sought to strip states and localities of their ability to pass and enforce laws regarding the production of any “agricultural products”—a term so broad that it includes not only farm animals like cows and pigs, but also potentially dogs in puppy mills.
The Farm Bill also protects the ability of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to make recommendations, such as animal welfare improvements, for our nation’s organic farms. Consumers expect higher welfare for animals raised under the USDA Organic label, and the NOSB has consistently recommended changes to meet these expectations.