September 28, 2018

What’s Next for the Farm Bill?

chickens

As Congress winds down its work before it breaks for midterm elections, one important piece of legislation still left unfinished is the Farm Bill. This extensive agricultural policy bill heavily impacts our nation’s farms, nutrition programs and environment, but also presents a huge opportunity to advance and protect animal welfare. The House and Senate have each passed their own versions of the bill and are currently reconciling the differences.

The Senate’s Farm Bill contains the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, vital legislation that will protect victims of domestic violence and their pets by making crossing state lines to injure a pet a federal offense.  The Senate also chose to protect the ability of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to make recommendations, such as animal welfare improvements, for our nation’s organic farms.

The House included in its bill a strong prohibition on the consumption of dog and cat meat as well as the Parity in Animal Cruelty Enforcement (PACE) Act, added via an amendment offered by Reps. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), John Faso (R-NY) and Steve Knight (R-CA), which seeks to end cockfighting in U.S. territories.

Unfortunately, the House bill also includes the heinous King Provision, or the so-called “Protect Interstate Commerce Act.” This measure seeks to strip states and localities of their 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.

It’s not too late for Congress to finalize a Farm Bill that protects animals and rejects the King Provision. You can help! Contact your Members of Congress today to let them know how important it is to pass the best Farm Bill for animals by rejecting the King Provision and keeping other strong animal welfare measures.