ASPCA Commends U.S. Senate for Including Animal Welfare Provision in the Farm Bill

Senate Farm Bill contains language to protect victims of domestic violence and their pets
June 29, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commends the U.S. Senate for passing the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act as part of the Senate Farm Bill. This vital legislation aims to protect victims of domestic violence and their pets by making crossing state lines to injure a pet an offense punishable by up to five years in prison. Introduced in the Senate last year by Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI) and Dean Heller (R-NV), the PAWS Act will also allow victims to recover veterinary costs and establish grants to help house victims and their at-risk pets. 

“The protections offered in the PAWS Act will help victims of domestic violence and their pets escape abusive environments and seek the safety and shelter they need,” said Richard Patch, vice president of federal affairs for the ASPCA. “The ASPCA applauds the Senate for including this critical provision and we encourage House and Senate leaders to retain the measure in the final Farm Bill.”

Last week, the House approved their version of the Farm Bill, and now the differences between the two bills must be reconciled. While the Senate bill advances animal welfare, the House version includes the dangerous King Provision, which would jeopardize state animal welfare laws across the country. The Senate also opted not to include proposals to weaken the National Organic Standards Board’s (NOSB) ability to recommend animal welfare improvements on organic farms. 

“The King Provision would nullify hundreds of animal welfare laws, stripping states and localities of the ability to pass and enforce laws regarding the production of any “agricultural products”—a term so broad that it includes not only farm animals like cows and pigs, but also potentially dogs in puppy mills,” said Patch. “As the Farm Bill moves forward, the ASPCA will work to ensure that it does not include the King Provision and maintains the integrity and authority of the NOSB.”

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