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Banning Slaughter Of Dogs And Cats

New bill passed by the House
By Karen B. London PhD, September 2018, Updated June 2021

Slaughtering dogs and cats for food is rare in the United States, but it is legal in 44 states to do so. Legislation that would make it illegal nationwide has been passed in the House. The bill amends the Animal Welfare Act by making it against the law to knowingly kill, possess, transport, buy, sell or donate these animals or any part of them for human consumption. The penalty for doing so could be a fine of up to $5000. It is already against the law for slaughterhouses to handle dog and cat meat and for stores to sell it, but this new bill extends those prohibitions to individuals.

The bipartisan bill is sponsored by two Florida representatives—Republican Vern Buchanan and Democrat Alcee Hastings. They are optimistic and hopeful that the Dog and Cat Meal Trade Prohibition Act will also be passed in the Senate. Issues related to animal welfare are rare in that there is a history of bipartisan support for them. Supporting these issues often allows politicians to show their constituents that they are compassionate.

Unfortunately, there is a market for dog and cat meat, and that puts animals in danger. Dogs (and cats) who are lost, stolen or living as strays are sometimes slaughtered for profit. Pets who are advertised as “free to a good home” are also at risk. If this bill becomes law, it will offer protection to many vulnerable animals.

Image: Shutterstock

Karen B. London, Ph.D. is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral issues, including aggression. Karen writes the animal column for the Arizona Daily Sun and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University. She is the author of six books about canine training and behavior, including her most recent, Treat Everyone Like a Dog: How a Dog Trainer’s World View Can Improve Your Life