Two congressmen from Florida--Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan and Democrat U.S. Rep Alcee Hastings--are calling on Congress to include their proposal to band 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.
Last November , the resolution moved through the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee. . 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.
Last week, joined by U.S. Rep. Dave Trott, R-Mich., and U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Penn., Buchanan and Hastings wrote the chairs of the congressional Agriculture Committees--U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, and U.S. Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas--on the matter. They also wrote the ranking Democrats on the committees--U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and U.S. Rep. Colin Peterson, D-Minn.
“As you prepare to go to conference on H.R.2/S.3042, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, we would like to thank you for including language on the prohibition of the dog and cat meat trade in both versions of the bill. We write to urge you to retain this language in conference. As you may know, we introduced H.R.1406, the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act of 2017 on March 7, 2017. Since its introduction, H.R.1406 has garnered the bipartisan support of 245 co-sponsors,” they wrote.
“While the slaughter of dogs and cats for consumption is not commonplace in the United States, it is not explicitly prohibited in federal law,” the congressmen added. “Unbelievably, it is still legal to slaughter dogs and cats for the purpose of human consumption in 44 states across the country. This important legislation will prohibit the slaughter and trade of dogs and cats for human consumption, and provide penalties to ensure that individuals involved in the dog or cat meat trade are held accountable.
“Dogs and cats play a vital role in the collective experience of Americans and deserve protection and compassion. In the United States, dogs and cats are owned for companionship, recreation, show, and sport, not for human consumption. It is long overdue that we explicitly ban the killing and consumption of these animals,” they wrote in conclusion. “We thank you again for including this language of the ban on the dog and cat meat trade, and strongly urge you to retain this language in the final version of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. Thank you very much for your time and attention to our request. We stand ready to do all that we can to assist.”
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.