ASPCA Responds to House and Senate Farm Bill Frameworks, Urging Inclusion of Critical Provisions to Improve the Welfare of Millions of Animals

May 1, 2024

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chair G.T. Thompson (R-Pa.) and Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) released separate frameworks for the Farm Bill, previewing their priorities before releasing draft text, which would directly impact millions of dogs, cats, horses, and farm animals. In response, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) issued the following statement:

“Though we are very encouraged to see critical provisions in the Senate framework to fund higher-welfare farmers and those transitioning out of factory farming, along with increased protections for dogs in puppy mills in the House framework, there is still much work to be done before a final Farm Bill reaches President Biden’s desk,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of Government Relations for the ASPCA. “Congress must reject any efforts to undo state laws protecting millions of farm animals from extreme confinement, and we urge them to ensure that the final Farm Bill retains funding for higher-welfare farmers and includes Goldie’s Act and the SAFE Act, bipartisan bills that are critical to ensuring the welfare of dogs, horses, and other animals.”

The House framework refers to language that would implement protections for dogs covered under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), including those in puppy mills. However, it also contains a particularly dangerous provision that mirrors the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act, undermining state authority in a way that could erase countless state and local animal welfare regulations that are already in place, threatening the welfare of millions of animals.

The Senate’s more detailed framework includes provisions requested by the ASPCA to accelerate the transition away from cruel factory farming and invest in small, independent farmers who are using higher-welfare systems, including groundbreaking funding to support farmers in their transition to more humane and climate-friendly practices. The language also calls for much needed oversight of industrial animal agriculture by requiring annual reporting on the depopulation of farm animals, encouraging more transparency from the corporations that profit most from factory farming. Additionally, the Senate framework mentions better enforcement of the AWA, a need the ASPCA has advocated for by urging the inclusion of Goldie’s Act, which would ensure the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) does its job to protect animals in commercial breeding facilities. 

Neither the House nor the Senate frameworks yet appear to include the bipartisan Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act to end the slaughter of horses. 

Today’s reveal is the first of many major steps for Congress’s Farm Bill process. The ASPCA will continue to engage Congressional leaders as they craft a final Farm Bill, urging inclusion of critical provisions to create more humane policies for animals.