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View Diary: U.S. Agricultural Policy: The Farm Bill Debate (Very Wonky) (45 comments)

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    Odysseus, BYw

    I learned a lot! I had been wondering why the Humane Society was using the farm bill after I received an email from them to support bill:

    ... The Farm bill also adds a provision to federal law to make almost any form of animal fighting a federal felony. It's also now a federal crime to knowingly possess or train animals for fighting, and the maximum prison time for a single violation of any section of the law goes from three years to five years. It is hard to overstate what a blow this is to dogfighters and cockfighters, and it brings us one step closer to eradicating these criminal industries.

    The law also authorizes an increase in potential fines -- quadrupled from $2,500 to $10,000 -- for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, fines that haven't been upgraded in more than 20 years. Such penalties will more effectively deter abuses at puppy mills, laboratories, circuses, and other facilities that use animals.

    I doubt that a separate bill to strengthen animal protections to this high degree would have been introduced and passed in Congress since the Animal Welfare Act irritates some lobbies.

    However, this also illustrates the limits of what can be achieved by stretching one bill to get "pet" projects implemented: some of the most inhumanely treated animals in the country - farm animals used for food and fiber or for food and fiber research - are not regulated under the Farm and Animal Welfare acts.

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