A bill that would outlaw the slaughter of dogs and cats for their meat in the US has been passed by the House.
Under the legislation proposed by Republican Vern Buchanan and Democrat Alcee Hastings - both Florida Reps. - the federal Animal Welfare Act would be amended to ban knowingly slaughtering, transporting, possessing, buying, selling or donating dogs or cats (or parts of them) for human consumption. The bill was passed by voice earlier this week.
While the practice is rare, it is still legal in 44 states. Under the new rule, violators could be fined up to $5,000.
In an official statement, Alcee Hastings said: "I am proud to have championed this effort in Congress to explicitly ban the killing and consumption of dogs and cats across the United States, and am greatly appreciative of my friend and colleague Congressman Buchanan for taking the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act across the finish line today.
"As the House of Representatives also calls for the end of the dog and cat meat trade globally, it is important that we hold ourselves to the same standards we wish to see in others."
Vern Buchanan added: "More than half the households in America have a dog or cat as part of their family. We should send a clear message that slaughtering these beloved animals for food is unacceptable and will be punished."
A non-binding resolution was also passed by the House urging other nations to end their cat and dog meat trades - including Thailand, South Korea, and China among others.