The U.S. Farm Bill is very close to completion. The House and Senate have each drafted versions of this five-year bill, and starting today, a committee made up of about 20 senators and representatives are meeting to iron out any differences and present a final, unified bill.
We have the opportunity to strike a major blow against animal fighting in this Farm Bill. The Senate’s version of the Farm Bill contains a provision to make it a federal crime to be a spectator at an animal fight—this language mirrors the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, a stand-alone bill with an astounding 216 House cosponsors—that’s very close to half of the entire body!
Since the Senate passed identical legislation during the last session of Congress and the current version is supported by nearly half the House, the bill seems poised for success. However, if we can get the Farm Bill conference committee to keep it in the Farm Bill, it’s a done deal: We won’t have to wait for the House to take a vote on the stand-alone bill.
It is important to note that spectators at animal fights are not there accidentally; they intentionally seek out these illegal activities at secret locations, often traveling long distances and crossing state lines for the entertainment of watching animals fight to the death and the opportunity to gamble on the barbaric event.
You can help! See if your U.S. representative is already a cosponsor of the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act—and if not, ask him or her to sign on. The more support this bill has in the House, the more likely it is that the Farm Bill committee will chose to leave the same language in the Farm Bill. Thank you, animal advocates!
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