Who‘s Objecting and Why?
Smart, savvy people with good reason to worry are weighing in with energetic force on this issue:
National Fraternal Order of Police – On behalf of 330,000 FOP members, president Chuck Canterbury wrote that the Farm Bill amendment “would allow for the proliferation of puppy mills, dog and cock fighting, kill shelters and other animal cruelties” and would make it harder for law enforcement to combat the increase in the “criminal enterprises that often go along with these activities.”
22 Fire and Emergency Services Organizations - These organizations wrote collectively to the leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees urging them to oppose the amendment because it would “nullify the cigarette fire safety performance standards that the fire service fought so hard to implement in each of our 50 states because tobacco is defined as an agriculture product. The individual states of this nation have taken it upon themselves to address a significant public safety issue and their important work should not be undone by the United States Congress.”
National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) – The president and president-elect of the NCSL wrote to the leaders of the House and Senate Agricultural Committees that “States have used [their Tenth Amendment] sovereignty to enact laws that protect their citizens from invasive pests and livestock diseases, maintain quality standards for all agricultural products and ensure food safety and unadulterated seed products. The King Amendment, not only violates the tenets of the Tenth Amendment, but would also have significant economic effects across the states.”
Diverse Coalition of Non-profits and Citizens‘ Groups – An incredible 80 different groups signed one letter objecting to the amendment and calling it an”unprecedented assault on [the] historic power of states to protect [the] health and welfare of their own citizens.” These groups say the amendment tries to force states to authorize the purely local sale and consumption of ‘any agricultural product’ – no matter how dangerous, unethical, environmentally destructive, or otherwise of concern.”
Congressional Opposition – There is strong bipartisan Congressional opposition, too. Both Republicans and Democrats are standing up to oppose this amendment. A total of 166 members of the House signed a Democratic letter or a Republican letter of objection aimed at their Agriculture Committee leadership, while 23 Senators signed a strongly worded group letter to the Senate’s Ag Committee leaders.
“I‘m Tired of States Doing This Crap”
Usually, like most conservatives, Rep. King asserts that the federal government ought to keep its big nose out of affairs that are rightly those of the states to decide. That was his position when in 2012 he opposed making it a federal crime to take a child to a dogfight. This time, conveniently, he’s arguing exactly the opposite.
Rep. King, by the way, had help coming up with this terrible amendment from Rep. Collin Peterson (R-Minn.), ranking member of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee. Peterson’s reason? He said, “After… being lobbied by all these egg people and every other damn thing going on, I think it’s the best solution myself. I’m tired of these states doing this crap.”
Hear that, states? Rep. Peterson is tired of your “crap” animal welfare laws.
It is well established that Rep. King is no animal welfare fan. Rather, his support falls squarely with Big Agriculture, which contributes handsomely to his campaigns. Fortunately, only the House version of the Farm Bill contains King’s amendment. It is not included in the Senate version. The two houses must meet this month to hammer out a final version.
Are you hating the King Amendment yet? Thought so.
If you‘d like to add your voice to the many who want Congress to remove this truly terrible provision from the final version of the Farm Bill, sign this petition. It will go directly to the four senior members of the House and Senate Agricultural Committees and will ask them to remove the King Amendment from the final version of the Farm Bill.
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