ASPCA Applauds U.S. House of Representatives for Passing Strong Animal Protections in the Farm Bill

January 29, 2014

WASHINGTON—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for passing a provision to crack down on animal fighting in the Farm Bill conference report. This provision will make attending an animal fight a federal offense and criminalize bringing a child to an animal fight. This version of the bill also excludes the dangerous King Amendment, which would have had potentially devastating impacts for state animal protection laws across the country. The Farm Bill conference report must now be passed by the Senate before being presented to the president for his signature. 

“Animal fighting and those who fuel this horrific form of cruelty will not be tolerated in our society,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “Children need protection from the dangerous culture of animal fighting, as well as its associated illegal activities such as drugs, weapons and gambling. The ASPCA applauds the House for passing this measure as part of the Farm Bill to combat animal fighting and protect public safety.”

The provision included in the Farm Bill will strengthen federal animal fighting laws by making attending an animal fight a federal offense as well as imposing 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. 

“In addition to strengthening laws against animal fighting,” Perry added, “With this Farm Bill, Congress rejects the King Amendment, an incredible federal power-grab that could have prevented states from passing their own laws to protect animals.  The ASPCA thanks our leaders in Congress for standing up for animals and states’ rights.”

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. 

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