Quantcast

Animals Scored Significant Victories With the 2018 Farm Bill

Animals
Pexels

By Sara Amundson

It is no secret that moving legislation over the finish line in Washington, DC, has not been easy of late. However, members of Congress did come together to pass the 2018 Farm Bill—a massive public-spending package that funds agriculture, conservation and food policy. It was signed into law by President Trump on Dec. 20, 2018, just two days before the government shutdown began. While Big Agriculture with its factory farming model is not too kind as a general rule, the Farm Bill did right by animals in several important respects.


First and foremost, animal advocacy groups and concerned citizens successfully worked to remove an anti-animal provision that Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) added to the House version of the bill. Of greatest concern to animal advocates was that Representative King's amendment would have nullified thousands of duly enacted laws concerning puppy mills, horse slaughter for human consumption and extreme confinement of farm animals. In its overreach, however, King's measure also threatened to undermine child labor laws and fire-safe cigarettes.

King repeats messages of "pro-states' rights" rhetoric, yet the legislation he introduces year after year threatens those very liberties. Recognizing that Americans care about the humane treatment of animals, Congress wisely opted to reject his dangerous amendment.

The Farm Bill also incorporated legislation addressing pet protection and domestic violence, and the inhumane practice of slaughtering dogs and cats for human consumption, among other things.

The Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act will extend current federal domestic violence protections to pets and empower people trapped in domestic violence situations to leave abusive relationships. Currently, only 3 percent of domestic violence shelters provide pet accommodations, which can delay victims from leaving a dangerous environment. Pets can be a source of comfort and support, but tragically, abusers will frequently exploit the emotional bond between a victim and a pet to gain psychological control.

Congress also included elements of The Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act in the Farm Bill. Around 30 million dogs and untold numbers of cats are victims of this brutal global industry every year, with animals often snatched off the street or stolen from loving families and subjected to unspeakable abuse only to end as someone's supper. In November, Humane Society International assisted government authorities in a shutdown of the largest dog slaughterhouse in South Korea. This bill will prevent this appalling practice from taking hold in the U.S., and strengthen the case for ending it worldwide.

There is much more to the Farm Bill, of course, and there are measures in it that give us pause. But in putting the King amendment out to pasture, and in taking up popular measures that had garnered tremendous bipartisan support, Congress has set a standard that we hope will continue in 2019. With the terrible threat of King's measure set aside, and these other priorities made law, Congress should advance a legislative agenda in 2019 that tackles other urgent challenges in humane work, based on the premise that any decent nation is good to the animals in its care.

Sara Amundson is the president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

This article was produced by Earth | Food | Life, a project of the Independent Media Institute, and was originally published by Truthout.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Kissing bug. Pavel Kirillov / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that the kissing bug, which can transmit a potentially deadly parasite, has spread to Delaware, ABC News reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
"Take the pledge today." Screenshot / StopFoodWasteDay.com

Did you know that more than a third of food is wasted or thrown away every year? And that only 25 percent of it would be enough to feed the 795 million undernourished people in the world? That's why today is Stop Food Waste Day, a chance to reflect on what you can do to waste less of the food you buy.

Stop Food Waste Day is an initiative of food service company Compass Group. It was launched first in the U.S, in 2017 and went global the year after, making today it's second worldwide celebration.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Berries are among the healthiest foods you can eat.

Read More Show Less
Flames and smoke are seen billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral on April 15 in Paris, France. Veronique de Viguerie / Getty Images

When Paris's Notre Dame caught fire on April 15, the flames threatened more than eight centuries of culture and history. The fire evoked shock, horror and grief worldwide. While the cathedral burned, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed determination to rebuild what the French regard as a sacred site.

Read More Show Less
An artist's impression of NASA's InSight lander on Mars. NASA / JPL-CALTECH

Scientists have likely detected a so-called marsquake — an earthquake on Mars — for the first time, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Hero Images / Getty Images

Across the political aisle, a majority of American parents support teaching climate change in schools even though most teachers currently do not.

Read More Show Less
Priit Siimon / flickr / cc

By Andrea Germanos

Lawyer and visionary thinker Polly Higgins, who campaigned for ecocide to be internationally recognized as a crime on par with genocide and war crimes, died Sunday at the age of 50.

She had been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer last month and given just weeks to live.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

An E. coli outbreak linked to ground beef has spread to 10 states and infected at least 156 people, CNN reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less