puppiesGood news for puppies and animals! It’s about time our legislators stepped up and listened to us and made the right decision for animal welfare.

The U.S. Senate yesterday followed the lead of the House of Representatives and overrode President Bush’s veto of the Farm Bill, ushering in key new protections for animals. The final bill — which is now considered law, except for one section excluded due to a technical glitch — bans the import of puppies from foreign puppy mills for commercial sale in the U.S. The law spares young, unweaned, and unvaccinated pups from harsh, long-distance transport — during which they are exposed to extreme temperatures and often die in cargo holds — and will keep foreign breeders from adding to the tragic overpopulation of pets in this country.

The Farm bill also adds a provision to federal law to make almost any form of animal fighting a federal felony. Its 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.

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