H.R. 6720 amends the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit the transportation, delivery, possession, and slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption. The bill includes a $5,000 penalty and an exception for Indian tribes for the purpose of a religious ceremony.
Commercial sales of dog and cat meat are illegal in the United States, but the vast majority of states do not have a prohibition on the killing of dogs and cats for human consumption. Therefore, an individual can kill and eat a dog or cat or sell the meat directly to another person.
Currently five states – California, Georgia, Michigan, New York, and Virginia – either specifically bar the butchering of dogs and cats for human consumption or prohibit practices in order to prevent the development of a dog and cat meat trade.
While consuming dog and cat meat in the United States is not common practice, there are documented cases of stolen pets being slaughtered and sold, restaurants selling dog or cat meat, and breeders raising dogs and cats for human consumption. However, punishments have been limited in these instances due to a lack of clear Federal authority.