The Senate and House recently voted to pass an $867 billion Farm Bill, which next goes to President Trump, who is expected to sign. Although this massive piece of legislation fundamentally maintains the status quo, supporting and enabling industrial animal agriculture, the animal protection movement and our allies were able to achieve several victories.
Over the course of 2018, nearly 40,000 Farm Sanctuary members spoke out. Here is what you helped accomplish.
The King Amendment is Dead!
A top priority for Farm Sanctuary and our humane allies was to remove the King Amendment, which would have undermined critically important animal protection laws across the U.S. — and we succeeded! If the amendment had been successful, it would have undermined many hard-won legislative victories for farm animals, including the recent passage of Proposition 12 in California. More than 18,000 Farm Sanctuary members contacted their representatives and senators about this amendment alone. Thank you to everyone who helped achieve this essential victory.
Animal-Friendly Provisions Pass
The Farm Bill conference report also includes other animal-friendly provisions, including the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, which offers federal support for both human and nonhuman victims of domestic violence in need of safety.
The bill also includes a federal ban on the slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption. While it may surprise you to learn that this was still legal in the U.S., it actually needed to be outlawed in 44 states.
Additionally, the Parity in Animal Cruelty Enforcement (PACE) Act was included, which will amend the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit animal fighting in U.S. territories. Having rescued many roosters from cockfighting over the years, we know the devastation this cruel “sport” causes and are glad to see this important action.
Healthy Food Incentives
Recognizing the benefits of plant-based eating, the Farm Bill also reauthorized and increased funding for the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives (FINI) program, which incentivizes the purchase of fruits and vegetables by doubling the value of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) dollars when purchasing fresh produce. This program encourages the consumption of fresh produce, and it also supports the farmers who grow it. There is acknowledgement of the growing market for organic food and support for research in this arena, but also misguided support for turning factory-farm waste into energy.
Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, these victories are the silver lining in a Farm Bill that otherwise continues to underwrite and enable factory farming through subsidies that encourage the consumption of unhealthy animal-based food in the U.S. and abroad. As usual, the dairy industry is a major beneficiary of Farm Bill programs, as well as other federal legislation promoting increased consumption of cows’ milk in schools. Too much funding goes to wealthy industrial farmers, leaving less for sustainable, plant-based operations. U.S. agricultural policy must shift toward encouraging a diversified, community-oriented, plant-based food system.
But progress is happening. Concerned citizens like you are voicing concerns and showing elected officials that people are paying attention. Thank you to everyone on our Action Alert list who has stood beside us in the fight for a better Farm Bill.
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