Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) released the following statement on the passage of the conference report to H.R. 2, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, by a vote of 369-47:
“Yesterday, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a strong and bipartisan Farm Bill, which included much needed support for our nation’s farmers, life-saving programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), conservation efforts, and important animal welfare provisions. The sugar program remains substantially the same, but includes a loan rate increase of 1 cent per pound for cane sugar and 1.28 cents for beet sugar. I commend Chairman Mike Conaway, Ranking Member Collin Peterson and the Farm Bill Conferees on including these important provisions.
“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.”
The language included in the Farm Bill was based off of H.R. 6720, the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act, which passed the House in September 2018. H.R.6720, a modified version of H.R.1406, was originally introduced by Congressman Hastings (D-FL), as well as Representatives Vern Buchanan (R-FL), David Trott (R-MI) and Brendan Boyle (D-PA) on March 7, 2017. The legislation, which had broad bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, amends the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit people from knowingly slaughtering a dog or cat for human consumption. In addition, the bill prohibits people from knowingly transporting, possessing, buying, selling, or donating: (1) a dog or cat to be slaughtered for human consumption, or (2) dog or cat parts for human consumption, setting a maximum fine of $5,000 for violations.
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Democratic Chairman of the Florida Delegation.