These 3 Points Matter To You on the New Farm Bill

Politics and pets probably don’t have much of a Venn diagram overlap in your day-to-day, (although pets and law is a heated debate right now). Somewhat fun fact: Every five years, the Farm Bill (which “funds projects under the purview of the Department of Agriculture, from food stamps to conservation programs”) is reviewed, amended, and passed. While it may not sound like anything related to domesticated-pet life, it’s a wide-ranging bill on all things animal, and it has recently passed in both houses of Congress.



According to, there are three points that apply to regular folks:


“One provision of the farm bill prohibits the import, export, and slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption. Eating dogs and cats is uncommon in the US, but it’s nonetheless legal in 44 states. The bill changes that.”

(Really. It was not illegal yet!)


“The Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act tries to address a problem for both humans and companion animals: Victims of domestic violence are often afraid to leave because they expect their abusive partner to abuse or kill their pets in retaliation. The PAWS Act commits more resources to housing domestic violence survivors with pets and changes law enforcement policy so these situations are a little more addressable in our current legal framework, which imposes only mild penalties for killing someone’s pet.”

We love this. Thank God for someone noticing that domestic abuse issues affect all household members, even the furry ones.


“Finally, the farm bill closes a loophole. Animal fighting (such as cockfighting or dogfighting) is illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, but that leaves it legal in US territories like Puerto Rico and Guam. The bill extends the prohibition on animal fighting to US territories as well.”



The bill heads to the President soon. Fingers crossed it doesn’t hit any roadblocks.

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Maureen Dempsey

Maureen Dempsey is a freelance writer living in New York with an ancient, 14-year-old chihuahua and a feisty, young dachshund.

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