U.S. Representatives Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., Dave Trott, R-Mich. and Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., have introduced legislation to ban the dog and cat meat trade in the United States, earning applause from Humane Society International, The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund. The bill, the Dog and Cat Meat Prohibition Act of 2017, would amend the U.S Animal Welfare Act to prohibit the slaughter and trade of dogs and cats for human consumption, and would provide penalties for individuals involved in the dog or cat meat trade.
HSI is one of the leading organizations campaigning across Asia to end the dog meat trade that sees around 30 million dogs a year killed for human consumption. It’s a trade that subjects dogs to horrifying treatment and raises serious human health concerns for traders and consumers alike, all for a type of meat that relatively few people eat on a regular basis. Similar problems face an untold number of cats. In the United States, the dog and cat meat industry is limited. The new bill will prevent domestic trade and imports, and serve as an important symbol of unity with countries and regions such as Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Taiwan that have dog meat bans in place.
Kelly O’Meara, director of companion animals and engagement for HSI, said: “The dog and cat meat trade is immensely cruel, so much so that many Asian countries have bans in place. This bill prevents the dog and cat meat trade from taking hold in the United States, but it also shines a spotlight on those countries where this brutal industry is not yet outlawed and where action is desperately needed.”
O’Meara adds: “Through our work in China, South Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia, we are urging policy makers to take decisive steps to end the trade. A similar law here in the United States would show important solidarity with those that have already enacted bans and inspire more to join the cause. We applaud Congressmen Hastings, Buchanan, Trott and Boyle for introducing this bill and their commitment to ending this brutal trade.”
Last year, and again this year, Congressman Hastings introduced a Congressional Resolution condemning China’s Yulin dog meat festival. Dog meat traders in China launched the festival in 2010 to increase sales, but popular outcry, both internationally and within China, has dramatically reduced the scope of the festival that takes place every year during the summer solstice. HSI and its Chinese partner groups have been on the ground every year to uncover the cruelty of the festival, and to stop the illegal transport of dogs into Yulin. Last year, HSI and its local partners rescued 170 dogs and cats from slaughterhouses on the outskirts of Yulin and transported them to the US, UK and Canada for adoption.
“Many people would be shocked to learn that it is still legal to slaughter dogs and cats for the purpose of human consumption in 44 states,” said Congressman Hastings. “This legislation will prohibit these practices and unify the animal cruelty laws across our country by explicitly prohibiting the slaughter and consumption of our most beloved companions. I am proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fight against these cruel and inhumane practices.”
- In China, HSI works alongside Chinese groups to rescue dogs from trucks bound for the dog meat markets, uncover the immense cruelty that takes place at the slaughterhouses, and draw attention to the plight of the animals.
- In South Korea, thousands of dog farms throughout the country rear an estimated 2.5 million dogs each year for human consumption. HSI has worked with six farmers since 2015 to shut down their farms and rescue 770 dogs. By helping farmers transition into humane trades, HSI is demonstrating that a government-led dog meat farm phase out is possible and desired by many farmers in the industry.
For more information visit hsi.org/dogmeat
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