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Farm Bill will protect dogs and other animals from fights

Pit Bull

The pit bull is by far the most fought dog in America, tarnishing an otherwise gentle breed's reputation

Pit Bull

A huge act of legislation, known simply as The Farm Bill, contains provisions to get tougher on animal fighting.

Now, thanks to this Farm Bill, it is a federal crime for someone to even attend a dog fight, or any other animal fight.

This bill really kind of slid under the radar, not catching much media attention along its way through the House and Senate and then last week gaining the signature of President Obama. It is probably a good thing that it caught little attention on its way through, because dog fighting and even cock (rooster) fighting is big money and you know what big money can do when it rears its ugly head.

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) and the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) are largely credited for pushing the legislation through.

For years, it has been illegal for anyone to host animal fights. Making it also illegal for anyone to be a spectator at an animal fight adds another layer of protection for the animals. And yet one more layer is added... even stiffer penalties will be imposed for anyone who brings a child (age 16 or under) to an animal fight.

The ASPCA had this to say about the legislation: "These changes send a clear message: animal fighting is so vile, so unconscionable, that accountability shouldn't end with those participating directly. Anyone attending an animal fight is a participant, and any participation is wrong -- especially when you bring along impressionable children or facilitate the events through illegal wagers and admission fees. No child should witness animals being forced to maul each other beyond recognition; or be exposed to grownups torturing animals mercilessly, gleefully, profiting from their pain. It's not just a traumatic experience for them; it breeds desensitization to violence, abuse, and atrocity. That paints a pretty bleak future."

"While we celebrate this law as a victory for animals, we also express relief for what it didn't include -- namely, a dangerous amendment introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) that would have decimated state animal cruelty laws across the country by preventing states from passing and enforcing their own laws regarding the production of "agricultural products." Such products could include farm animals, dogs in puppy mills, and even locally grown fruits and vegetables. Grabbing that power from the states would set a dangerous precedent and leave animals unprotected."

"History shows us time and time again that where there's money to be made, defenseless animals often pay the highest price. But today, thanks to our collective efforts, Congress took a stand for them, and for children. It may not be the part of the Farm Bill getting the most attention, but it's the part best protecting the most vulnerable among us."

Sen. Cantwell's been honored by the Humane Society before. In 2012 she received the organization's "Legislative Leader" award for her work in helping to protect endangered apes.

More than 700 comments to the legislation were posted on Politix forum in one day. Many expressed gratitude for the legislation because of their love of the American Pit Bull Terrier (pit bull), which has by far been the most fought breed of dogs. Fighting of pit bulls has become so rampant that many cities throughout the country have banned ownership of the breed altogether.

Said one forum poster, Kyle, "Dog fighters have ruined the best and the most American dog there is around and it's sad. The \American pit bull terrier has an undeserved tarnish on it's reputation bc trashy people use the dogs loyalty to make it do bad things for the their gain."

Writes another poster, "The APBT is an amazing dog. Athletic, friendly, gentle, loving. They will protect you, play with you, cuddle with, or do just about anything else you ask them to (sadly, including dog-fighting). "

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