Congress may ban the slaughter of cats and dogs to sell as meat or for human consumption and punish offenses with a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.
The House Committee on Agriculture approved by voice vote an amendment to the farm bill Wednesday that would make all sales of domesticated canines and felines illegal, Politico reported.
“Adopting this policy signals that the United States will not tolerate the disturbing practice in our country,” California Republican Rep. Jeff Denham said in a statement as he introduced the amendment.
Some believed the ban unnecessary, as eating dogs and cats is rare in the U.S. Iowa Rep. Steve King voted against putting the amendment in the bill because he thought the sentencing was too harsh.
“Mr. King is the only one who tells me people do that in his district,” Denham said when Democratic Florida Rep. Al Lawson asked whether people really eat dogs and cats.
A few states, including New York, New Jersey and California, ban the butchering of dogs and cats, which usually only occurs in immigrant communities.
One vocal supporter of the ban on eating popular pets is animal rights activist group Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS). The “Farm bill is the right vehicle to improve our nation’s animal welfare programs” since standalone animal rights bills seldom make it to the floor, former HSUS President Wayne Pacelle argued in an August blog post before being pushed out of the organization in the wake of harassment allegations
The farm bill, the authorization for all agriculture programs from food stamps to sugar subsidies, has many hurdles to go over before becoming law.
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