In a speech one day during his long presidency, Barack Obama reminisced about his childhood, hearing the neighborhood call to prayer several times a day and eating food his mother prepared including dog.
That was in Indonesia.
Such a diet is culturally repulsive in a country whose citizens share their home, own foods and even beds with some 90 million dogs as pets and companions. Soon, eating them may also become illegal. An estimated 86 million pet cats also reside with Americans.
An amendment was slipped into a bill approved by the House Agriculture Committee Wednesday to bar “knowingly slaughtering a dog or cat for human consumption” or transporting or participating in other commercial activity related to eating pet meat.
Penalties would include up to one year in prison plus possible fines. Currently, only a few states such as California, New Jersey and New York ban such animal slaughtering, largely for immigrant markets. Dog and cat slaughter is already prohibited in commercial meat-packing plants.
The new ban amendment, which was submitted by California Republican Rep. Jeff Denham, is supported by several animal groups including the Humane Society of the United States.
It’s part of an immense $867 billion reauthorization bill for all Department of Agriculture programs including food stamps and farm subsidies. The Senate Agriculture Committee has yet to take up the reauthorization.