This week, President Donald Trump signed a proposal from two congressmen from Florida--Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan and Democrat U.S. Rep Alcee Hastings--banning the slaughter of cats and dogs for human consumption as part of the Farm Bill.
Back in March 2017, Buchanan and Hastings unveiled the “Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act," a proposal banning the slaughter of cats and dogs for human consumption. Currently, 44 states do not have those type of laws in place.
In November 2017, the resolution moved through the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee. A majority of the Florida delegation backed 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 bill “amends the federal Animal Welfare Act to make it illegal to knowingly slaughter, transport, possess, buy, sell or donate dogs or cats or their parts for human consumption. Violators will be fined up to $5,000” and was passed by the House in September.
“With the president’s signature of this legislation, dog and cat lovers across America can rejoice as the slaughter of these beloved creatures will no longer have legal safe haven in America,” Buchanan, the chairman of the Animal Protection Caucus, said on Thursday night. “I thank President Trump and my colleagues in Congress for joining me in this bipartisan effort and advancing the cause of animal protection.”
“The Farm Bill’s inclusion of language prohibiting the cruel dog and cat meat trade domestically in addition to the passage of the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act in September 2018 represents a historic step forward to unify animal cruelty laws across the United States and generate momentum for the animal welfare movement. I am proud to have championed this effort in Congress, along with my colleagues Representatives Vern Buchanan, David Trott and Brendan Boyle, to explicitly ban the killing and consumption dogs and cats across the United States,” Hastings said when the Farm Bill was passed last week.
Sara Amundson, the president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, applauded the bill being signed.
“Buchanan worked diligently across chamber and party lines during months of negotiations on the package’s content to secure this victory. Not only will the measure demonstrate solidarity with the global community, but it will ensure that this horrifying trade does not take hold here in the United States. On behalf of the animal protection movement (and my beloved cat Peanut), I commend Buchanan for his steadfast leadership in defending pets in Florida and across the world,” she said.
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 in 2016, 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.