ASPCA Commends Congress for Passing Critical Animal Protection Measures in 2018 Farm Bill

Farm Bill includes protections for victims of domestic violence and their pets, and expands animal fighting prohibitions to combat cockfighting
December 12, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC – The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today commends the U.S. Congress for passing critical protections for animals as part of the 2018 Farm Bill. The final package includes the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, vital legislation that protects victims of domestic violence and their pets by making crossing state lines to injure a pet a federal offense. This measure, now renamed in the Farm Bill as “Protecting Animals with Shelter” (PAWS), was championed in Congress by Reps. Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), as well as Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI) and Dean Heller (R-NV).

“The inclusion of the PAWS Act in the Farm Bill will help victims of domestic violence and their pets escape abusive environments and seek the shelter and safety they need,” said Richard Patch, vice president of federal affairs for the ASPCA. “The ASPCA applauds Congress for including this groundbreaking provision in the Farm Bill and we are grateful to Representative Clark, Representative Ros-Lehtinen, Senator Peters and Senator Heller for their steadfast leadership on this issue.”

“Everyone deserves a safe place to call home. Today, by passing the PAWS Act, we are ensuring that survivors of abuse don’t have to make the decision between finding safety and staying in a violent situation to protect their pet,” said Rep. Clark. “This bill is vital to our fight against domestic violence, and I’m eager to see it signed into law in the coming days!”

One of the most significant victories for farm animals is in what the Farm Bill does not include – the King Amendment. This dangerous measure would have usurped the authority of states to pass animal protection laws and negated important wins for animals, like the recent passage of Proposition 12 in California to ensure cage-free housing and more space for factory farmed veal calves, mother pigs and egg-laying hens.

“By stripping the King Amendment from the final bill, Congress chose to preserve the Constitutional right of states to protect the well-being of their own animals and residents,” said Patch.

The Farm Bill also maintains the integrity of the National Organics Standards Board’s (NOSB) ability to recommend animal welfare improvements for animals raised on farms under the USDA Organic label. Other animal-related provisions contained in the final bill include: The Parity in Animal Cruelty (PACE) Act, which seeks to end cockfighting in U.S. territories by closing loopholes that prevent the federal prohibition of this heinous crime; and a prohibition on the consumption and trade of dog and cat meat in the U.S.

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