In the U.S., there are strict laws in place on the treatment of pets and lab animals. Abusing an animal is normally punishable by law.

Yet, it is legal for farm animals to be kept in conditions would be considered "abusive" for pets and lab animals.

I know that there is a clause somewhere stating that anything that falls under the category of "common farming practices" is exempt from animal welfare laws. I'm looking for this clause and any documentation that explains it.

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    I'm closing the question because there are different answers depending on state and even city. For instance California recently enforced a cage free egg law which does not apply outside the state. Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 18:39
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    This is opinion based too - we can only speculate about why, wouldn't you say?
    – Zanna
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 20:08
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    @Zanna This question is NOT opinion based at all. In fact, it's just about as far from opinion based as possible. I know that there is a clause somewhere stating that anything that falls under the category of "common farming practices" is exempt from animal welfare laws. I was hoping that someone else would know more about the topic than me, but if not I can answer my own question with a bit of research. The question is also not too broad, and I really don't appreciate a single mod closing it in a unilateral decision. I would accept the close vote if the community decided it.
    – C_Z_
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 22:16
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    @C_Z_ could you possibly edit your question to clarify that you're looking for that? I think the current wording could come across as persuasive rhetoric rather than a real question, if you know what I mean.
    – Zanna
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 22:29
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    C_Z_ I'm glad you are ok with the edit :) I see what you mean after your explanation, but personally I didn't find it at all clear in the original wording what you really wanted to know and it seemed like saying "wth is wrong with the stupid government?" (Maybe it's just me though)
    – Zanna
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 4:10

1 Answer 1


So far as I know there is no federal legislation protecting farm animals on the farm (in the U.S.A.), with some legislation (but perhaps insufficient enforcement) protecting them at the slaughter house.

For details of the legislation see my answer to the question "Is gratuitous farm animal abuse condoned by the USDA?" on Skeptics.SE.

You might be looking for a quote like,

Farm Animals are regulated under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) only when used in biomedical research, testing, teaching and exhibition. Farm animals used for food and fiber or for food and fiber research are not regulated under the AWA.

Perhaps it isn't that they're excluded from protection, it's that they're not included.

The answer also includes a link to State-specific laws.

  • +1, but it might be preferable to include some more relevant details from your answer here.
    – Zanna
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 17:26
  • I respect that, otoh I don't like to cross-post (or copy-and-paste) between SE sites. Unlike links to non-SE sites, I assume that (linked) page will live for just as long as this one does.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 17:30

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