A resolution from two members of the Florida congressional delegation calling for an end to the global dog meat and cat meat trade is gaining momentum in the House with more than 100 co-sponsors and moving through a key committee earlier this month.
Back in June, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., brought out a resolution “calling on China, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, India and all nations to end their dog and cat meat trade and to enforce existing laws against the trade.”
This is not the first time the two congressmen tackled the issue. Back in March, Buchanan and Hastings unveiled the “Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act," a proposal banning the slaughter of cats and dogs for human consumption.
Last week, the resolution moved through the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee and Hastings thanked U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., the chairman of the committee, and U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-NY, the ranking Democrat on it, for advancing his proposal.
“I commend Chairman Ed Royce and Ranking Member Eliot Engel for supporting H.Res.401, and applaud the House Foreign Affairs Committee for its passage,” Hastings said after the resolution cleared the committee. “I hope the House will expeditiously pass this measure. Doing so will reaffirm America’s commitment to the humane treatment of our most beloved companions.”
“Furthermore, I am so deeply appreciative to the thousands of supporters who continue to work tirelessly around the globe to end the dog and cat trade,” Hastings added. “It is my hope that this resolution will bring us one step closer to accomplishing that goal.”
“Dogs and cats provide companionship to millions and should not be slaughtered and sold as food,” Buchanan said after the vote. “It’s time to provide important protections for our most popular pets.”
The resolution continues to build steam on Capitol Hill with more than 10 new co-sponsors jumping on so far this month. A majority of the Florida delegation is backing the resolution with Republican U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Matt Gaetz and Bill Posey and Democrats U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Al Lawson Darren Soto, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson serving as co-sponsors.
The Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation, Animal Welfare Institute, Hounds and Heroes, Humane Society International, Humane Society Legislative Fund, The Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are all behind the resolution.
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 (FWS) decision to downgrade manatees from “endangered” to “threatened.” In recent weeks, Buchanan has been critical of the FWS decision to end the ban of elephant trophies and has applauded President Donald Trump for reversing it.