The House Agricultural Committee moved forward with the Farm Bill with an amendment that could have far-reaching effects in the realm of animal protection.
One good thing that came out of it was the inclusion of the anti-animal fighting amendment that would make it a crime to attend, or bring a minor, to an animal fight, which will help crack down on those who fuel this barbaric underground industry and perpetuate other illegal activity.
However, a midnight amendment, innocently titled the Protect Interstate Commerce Act, was tacked on by Rep Steve King (R-Iowa) that would undermine states’ abilities to pass their own laws regarding anything that is considered an “agricultural product,” including animals, which could affect current regulations on issues ranging from intensive confinement of farm animals to horse slaughter, shark finning and puppy mills.
The same Steve King that openly defended dog fighting? Yeah, that guy. Surprise!
Supporters believe Congress should have the right to regulate interstate commerce and that one state shouldn’t have the right to dictate agricultural production practices within another state. Overturning California’s ban on foie gras and smacking down the long fight for Prop 2, which is on track to ban battery cages for egg laying hens, are prime examples of what the King Amendment would do.
Even if your state wants to improve standards for animals by banning horse slaughter, regulating puppy mills, giving chickens enough space to stretch their wings – and we’re talking inches here, not acres – or make any changes for the betterment of animals, it won’t be allowed to do anything about what comes in from other states that have minimal, if any, standards or regulations.
The prices of local producers will be undercut and some may see cheaper production opportunities in states that have fewer standards or opportunities for ballot initiatives. California dealt with the issue of losing producers with Prop 2, or leaving them to compete with producers in other states who offer cheaper eggs, by banning the the sale of any eggs that are produced in battery cages, regardless of where they came from. Big Ag wants none of this, and it certainly doesn’t want the public to have any say in how things get done.
The amendment could also overturn bans on gestation crates, horse slaughter and other voter-approved ballot measures that have been enacted to help protect animals.
The problems don’t end with animal protection either, they extend to worker safety, environmental protection and food safety. If the King Amendment is passed, it will also affect state GMO labeling and food safety laws, which have just passed in a number of states.
Please sign and share the petition urging your representative not to pass the Farm Bill with the King Amendment.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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