The U.S. House Representatives voted Wednesday to pass the Farm Bill - legislation that sets policy for federal agriculture programs, from farming to forestry.
The Farm Bill contains a provision to crack down on animal fighting and establishes the first-ever federal penalties for attending an animal fight and criminalizes bringing a child to one of these events.
The provision creates liability for people whose illegal wagers and admission fees fuel this cruel “sport.” It also ensures that organizers can’t escape prosecution by hiding in the crowd when law enforcement arrives, since now everyone in the crowd will be breaking the law.
The bill also omits a controversial House-passed provision that humane organizations said sought to nullify state laws setting standards for agricultural production.
“The conference committee produced a Farm Bill that will fortify the federal law against organized and barbaric dogfighting and cockfighting rings, and thankfully jettisoned the dangerous and overreaching King amendment, which threatened so many state and local laws on agriculture and animal welfare,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. “The Farm Bill contains a dizzying number of provisions, but based on the outcome of these two critical issues on animal welfare, we will urge lawmakers to enact it.”
The five-year bill heads to the Senate, where approval seems certain. The White House said President Barack Obama would sign it.