ASPCA Applauds Congress for Taking Major Steps in Farm Bill to Protect Animals

January 27, 2014

WASHINGTON—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today applauds the U.S. Congress for advancing the final Farm Bill conference report that includes language to crackdown on animal fighting and rejects the dangerous King Amendment.

Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations, said: “With the actions taken today by Congress, animals can claim victory on two fronts with the Farm Bill. The messages sent by legislators were loud and clear: animal fighting and those who fuel this horrific form of cruelty will not be tolerated in our society, and states should have the power to enact laws that safeguard the health and welfare of their animals. The ASPCA applauds our Congressional leaders for responding to the American public in taking these significant steps forward to help protect more animals.

The provision to strengthen animal fighting laws would make attending an animal fight a federal offense and impose additional penalties for bringing a child to an animal fight. This provision is similar to the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act (S. 666 / H.R. 366), standalone legislation with strong bipartisan support in both chambers.

The King Amendment, introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), would have gutted state animal cruelty laws across the country and prevented states from passing their own laws regarding the production of “agricultural products”—a term so sweeping it could have included farm animals, dogs in puppy mills, and many other commercial enterprises involving animals. As a result, improved humane standards and animal welfare laws at the state level would have been negated.

The final Farm Bill is expected to pass in both the U.S. House and Senate later this week before enactment by the president.

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