Two Major Victories for Animals in the Farm Bill

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 - 9:15am
US Capitol Building

Guest blog by Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations
*Updated 11:00 A.M. Wednesday, January 29*

After months of negotiations, the U.S. House Representatives voted Wednesday to pass the Farm Billlegislation to set policy for many federal agriculture programs. Thanks to all who lobbied Congress with us, animals can claim important victories on two fronts in this legislation. First, the Farm Bill contains a provision to crack down on animal fighting: gruesome spectacles where gamblers wager on animals who are forced to fight to the death. Second, this legislation protects the integrity of hundreds of state animal protection laws across the country from the grievous threat of the King Amendment. The ASPCA applauds Congress for advancing its crackdown on animal fighters while handing a defeat to animal abusers in the Farm Bill.

The animal fighting language in the Farm Bill establishes the first-ever federal penalties for attending an animal fight and criminalizes bringing a child to one of these heinous events. Reflecting the language of the Animal Fighting Spectator Act (H.R 366 / S. 666), this provision creates liability for the individuals whose illegal wagers and admission fees fuel this cruelty. It also ensures that organizers cannot easily escape prosecution by hiding in the crowd when law enforcement arrives, since now everyone in the crowd will be breaking the law.

The King Amendment, named after its sponsor, Rep. Steve King (R-IA), was an incredible federal power-grab that could have prevented states from enacting many of their own laws regarding the production of any “agricultural products”—a term so broad that it can include farm animals, dogs in puppy mills, and even locally grown fruits and vegetables. The defeat of the King Amendment preserves the historic power of states to pass laws that protect the health and welfare of animals.

After today’s vote in the House, the Farm Bill is headed to the Senate for consideration and passage.

The ASPCA Government Relations team has made passage of the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act and defeat of the King Amendment top priorities this Congress. We couldn’t have achieved these victories without the members of our Advocacy Brigade, who sent thousands of emails to their Members of Congress about the animal fighting bill and the King Amendment. 

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So grateful for all that you guys do in recognizing our animals, our companions, the farm animals, all Gods creatures that we must be their voices. I can not always give to this cause but I'm one hundred percent behind you. All petetions that is for the good of animals will have my signature in hopes of passing laws for animal welfare. Your news letters also educate me as to what is happening behind closed doors in our animal society and I thank you for that. It maybe hard to read but it needs to be out there in hopes of opening all our eyes to this kind of cruelty. Thank you and God Bless

Ilene Gonzalez

There was a news story the last couple of days about a puppy that had it's ears cut off and a hind leg cut off. In the news report it was stated that in many states the laws regarding animal cruelty go back to the 1970's and are just a slap on the wrists. What can be done to change these out of date laws so that the real "animals" can be jailed for longer time and bigger fines?

Cam s

So whats next? Stop the Kentucky Derby,stop Greyhound racing,how about circuses and rodeos. All these sports use animals for monetary gain for their owners and are subjected to cruel and harsh methods of training for these events. This country sure isnt short on idiots who place value of a animals life above that of a human being. Should be pushin for tougher laws against rapists,child molesters,murderers. But no lets go after these cockfighters an watch them on the evening news while enjoying a bucket of KFC!!!!