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While countries including China, South Korea, and Thailand are notorious for slaughtering dogs and cats for the purpose of consumption, most Americans are surprised to learn the issue also hits close to home. There is evidence of an underground market for the sale and purchase of dog and cat meat in the U.S., and until recently, 44 states allowed individuals to kill pets and sell the meat as food. Thanks to a rare bipartisan cooperation, that practice is on its way to being illegal across the country.

On Wednesday, the House passed official legislation that will outlaw slaughtering dogs and cats and eating the meat. Florida Reps. Vern Buchanan, a Republican, and Alcee Hastings, a Democrat, worked together to amend the existing federal Animal Welfare Act to bring the change to fruition. The bill specifies it will be “illegal to knowingly slaughter, transport, possess, buy, sell, or donate dogs or cats or their parts for human consumption.” There will be a $5,000 fine for all violators.

Organizations including The Humane Society of the United States and Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation (AHWF) have been pushing for the change to make the country an example worldwide. AHWF founder Marc Ching said,

“This is a major victory for the animals, and will work to assist those in other countries leading the way to fight against and liberate those victimized by the dog and cat meat trade. “

Alongside the bill, the House is also urging other nations, specifically, China, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and India, to follow suit and put an end to the consumption of domestic animals. American organizations have been fighting the dog meat trade in Asia for years. The passing of this bill will be the final step in ending the battle back at home.

Now that it has passed a vote by Representatives, the bill to ban dog and cat consumption in all 50 states is being sent to the Senate. It’s expected to be voted on before Congress adjourns later this fall. From there, it’ll be passed to President Trump’s desk for an official signature. Local law enforcement will be taxed with enforcing the ban, but making it officially part of the law is a welcome step forward in the name of animal welfare.

h/t: USA Today

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