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Senate passes Farm Bill, animal provisions intact


Washington­In mid-February, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of advanced animal protection in its 50 states with passage of the Farm Bill.

Washington­In mid-February, the U.S. Senate voted in favorof advanced animal protection in its 50 states with passage of the FarmBill.

In favor of animal health and welfare, the legislative body passed provisionsin the Farm bill (S. 1731) to combat animal fighting, confront inhumanefarm animal treatment and thwart abuses at puppy mills.

Animal fighting:

This provision, backed by Senators Wayne Allard (R-CO) and Senate AgricultureCommittee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), bars interstate shipment of birdsfor fighting and export of fighting dogs or birds. The provision increasespenalties for animal fighting violations, doubles jail time and triplesfines.

Puppy mills:

Senators Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) introduced thisamendment, known as Puppy Protection Act (based on S. 1478), which is setup to act against acute abuses in the puppy mill industry. The amendmentcreates a "three strikes and you're out" system for offenderswho repeatedly violate the Animal Welfare Act. The amendment limits numberof litters for breeding females and mandates that female dogs be at least1 year old before they are bred.

Representatives Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Sam Farr (D-CA) introduced acompanion bill, H.R. 3058. The House-passed version of the Farm bill, H.R.2646, does not contain the puppy mill provision.

Downed farm animals:

The Farm Bill includes language on humane and public health concerns about non-ambulatory farm animals. This provision, championed by SenatorsPatrick Leahy (D-VT) and Daniel Akaka (D-HI), mandates humane euthanasiaof animals too weak from sickness or injury to stand or walk at stockyards,auctions, and other intermediate livestock markets. The legislation wouldprevent ill or injured animals from being sent to slaughter.

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