ASPCA Calls for More Humane Livestock Rules in Farm Bill
NEW YORK — Animal rights advocates urged Congress on Tuesday to enshrine more humane practices for raising livestock in the 2023 Farm Bill.
In an 8-page paper, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals argues several critical reforms are needed to improve the welfare of the almost 10 billion animals that are raised for food in the United States each year.
Lauren Tavar, director of farm animal legislation for ASPCA, said in a written statement that the new farm bill should “hold animal agribusiness accountable for its harmful practices and accelerate the transition to a more humane food system that is rooted in respect for animals, workers, farmers and rural communities.”
Renewed every five years, the farm bill is a half a trillion-dollar omnibus bill that governs an array of agricultural and food programs.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the bill provides an opportunity for policymakers “to comprehensively and periodically address agricultural and food issues.”
“Unfortunately,” ASPCA says, “industrial agriculture interests have used their outsized influence to ensure that the farm bill invests government funds in the cruel status quo — prioritizing record profits for multinational agribusinesses instead of supporting critical efforts to build a more humane and sustainable food system.”
To bolster its position it points to a November 2020 poll in which 89% of respondents said they were concerned about industrial animal agriculture, and 65% said they believe the inhumane treatment of farm animals is directly tied to human health and safety risks.
The nonprofit is specifically calling on lawmakers to include provisions in the next farm bill that:
- Increase corporate accountability and address food system consolidation.
- Invest in farmers who are employing more humane techniques in livestock management.
- Bolster government oversight of the existing industrial animal agriculture.
- End government investments in the factory farm model.
ASPCA isn’t alone in espousing this position. On Tuesday it was joined by more than 40 other animal welfare organizations that sent a letter to President Joe Biden and the leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees urging the inclusion of more humane livestock management practices in the 2023 Farm Bill.
“Public dollars should not support a cruel, polluting factory farm system that harms animals, the environment, workers, farmers and rural communities alike,” they wrote. “The 2023 Farm Bill should be used to support critical efforts to build a more humane and sustainable food system — a food system that treats animals with respect, creates a level playing field for all farmers and safeguards our clean air and water.”