Two Florida congressmen--Republican Vern Buchanan and Democrat Alcee Hastings--have teamed up on bringing out the “Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act," a proposal banning the slaughter of cats and dogs for human consumption.
Hastings introduced the bill this week. Besides Buchanan, other co-sponsors include U.S. Reps. Brendan Boyle, D-Penn., and Dave Trott, R-Mich. The bill has the support of the Humane Society of the United States.
The two congressmen from the Sunshine State made their case as to why the bill was needed.
“In much of the United States it is still legal to slaughter dogs and cats for the purpose of human consumption,” Hastings said. “It is long overdue for Congress to unify animal cruelty laws across our country to explicitly ban the killing and consumption of these animals. I am pleased to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to end this cruel and inhumane practice.”
“Dogs and cats provide companionship to millions of Americans and should not be slaughtered and sold as food,” Buchanan said. “This bill will update our animal cruelty laws to provide important protections to America’s most popular pets.”
The issue is not a new one for either of the two congressmen from the Sunshine State who are the co-chairs of the Florida delegation. Hastings has been leading the charge on Capitol Hill in condemning the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China where 10,000 dogs are slaughtered each year for human consumption.
Buchanan has also garnered national attention for his work on animal issues. The Humane Society of the United States named Buchanan as its legislator of the year last April, the first time a member of the Florida delegation has received the honor. Buchanan received a 100 score from the Humane Society and fought for some of the group’s top priorities. In 2016, Buchanan brought out the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act which bans exporting horses to Mexican slaughterhouses. Buchanan has also led the charge on Capitol Hill to stop domestic slaughterhouses from creating horse meat for human consumption. The Bradenton congressman has also been active in trying to keep manatees covered under the Endangered Species Act. Last year, Buchanan protested the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to downgrade manatees from “endangered” to “threatened.”
Hasting’s bill has been sent to the House Agriculture Committee. So far, there is no Senate counterpart.