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Cats And Dogs Will No Longer Be On The Menu After House Passes Bill Outlawing Consumption

Cats And Dogs Will No Longer Be On The Menu After House Passes Bill Outlawing Consumption

Slaughterhouses handling dogs and cats and selling their meat is illegal in the United States.

However, it is legal in 44 states for an individual to privately slaughter these animals for the sole purpose of selling them for consumption.

Florida representatives Vern Buchanan, a Republican, and Alcee Hastings, a Democrat, joined forces to make sure the welfare of cats and dogs is protected and that they are kept off the dinner table.

On Wednesday, the House passed legislation by voice vote that will make it illegal to "slaughter, transport, possess, buy, sell or donate dogs or cats or their parts for human consumption."

A $5,000 fine will be imposed on violators, with an exception applicable for Native American tribes "carrying out any activity described ... for the purpose of a religious ceremony." Some tribes in North America traditionally ate dogs, but not cats as they were not an indigenous animal species.

Most tribes report they no longer continue the practice when wild canines like coyotes are available for hunting and trapping.

Buchanan and Hastings collaborated on the "Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act of 2018," beginning in 2017 and are hopeful the Senate will also pass the bill in the fall.

"I am proud to have championed this effort, which sends a strong signal to the world that the welfare of animals must be taken seriously," Hastings told NBC News.

"This bill is a reflection of our values and gives us a greater standing in urging all other countries to end this horrific practice once and for all."

The House also passed a nonbinding resolution on Wednesday urging China, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, India and other nations "to outlaw the dog and cat meat trade."

The news came as a relief for many people, but most were surprised the practice of eating dogs and cats was still a reality.

This animal welfare legislation is a rare exception where lawmakers came to a bipartisan agreement.

H/T - USAtoday, GettyImages, Twitter, NBCnews