House committee votes to gut states’ rights to protect animals and citizens

By on April 20, 2018 with 15 Comments

The news that the House Committee on Agriculture has approved a version of the Farm Bill with an amendment by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, that could gut states’ rights to protect animals and their citizens is infuriating. But the Farm Bill will go to the House floor for a vote soon, and the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund will continue working day and night to rid the bill of this outrageous threat to animal protection.

King’s bill is the worst kind of special interest legislation. It’s specifically designed to undermine the authority of states to restrict the sale within their own borders of products of factory farms and battery cages, and it could also negate laws on puppy mills and the sale of dog and cat meat, among other important animal protection measures. King’s bill would also impact hundreds of laws outside of the animal welfare context, which in turn would undermine nearly every state’s ability to protect its citizens.

It’s no coincidence that King hails from a state loaded with industrial agriculture interests. Because his factory farming constituents are not able to compete against farmers who practice good animal stewardship, King is seeking to abolish essentially all state and local agricultural laws so a few industrial factory farming barons can flood other states’ markets with the products of animal cruelty.

King’s measure would also forbid states from regulating the quality and safety of food products imported from other states. There’s much we don’t know about the safety of certain pesticides and other dangerous chemicals, yet King’s bill would force each state to allow virtually any agricultural product, no matter how dangerous, into its market. This threatens the sanctity of the Tenth Amendment, which reserves rights unto the states, and it threatens our rights as citizens to protect ourselves from hazardous and irresponsible agribusiness practices.

It’s become a test. Will industrial-scale agricultural interests persuade enough members of Congress to preempt state regulation of animal cruelty, as a sop to Iowa factory farmers? Or will wiser minds prevail and stop this federal power grab led by King? We’re going with wiser minds, and we need your help.

The irony of the situation is that King, the front man in this shameless snatch-and-run gambit, is a self-described states’ rights champion. He claims to be a constitutional fundamentalist, a man who “listens to voters.” His website even says this: “I am a firm believer in states’ rights, which is why I am a proud member of the Tenth Amendment Caucus, which focuses on restoring the critical balance between the powers of the states and those of the federal government.”

Such lofty words, however, don’t amount to much when King and his factory farming backers dislike what legislatures in other states are doing. So now he’s pressing for heavy-handed government to impose its will from Washington.

It’s not too late for you to lend your voice and your muscle to the fight against this shameless power grab. Please contact your U.S. representatives and senators and ask them to reject the King amendment. And while you’re at it, please encourage them to sustain a provision that Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., successfully included in the committee’s Farm Bill to prohibit the domestic slaughter, trade and import/export of dogs and cats for human consumption, and any other pro-animal amendments that may be offered on the floor.

Companion Animals, Farm Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. Sherry Bell says:

    MONEY – MONEY- MONEY – MONEY -thats what this is all about – no concern about ethical treatment for these poor animals – and Mr. King should be abjucated if thats the correct word for it . Thrown out of office – He is a disgrace to all the Senators that are decent out there and trying to keep things in the right form for animals and people. I think Mr. King needs to go to one of these Factory Farms undercover of course and work for even 1 day and actually see what it is all about I think he would be sick to his stomach . I just don’t believe that he can actually push this ridiculous bill through – without it even getting shut down from the start I don’t understand the mindset of some people and the greed over everything

  2. Deedee D. says:

    It will wipe out tremendous hard work advocates put into ballot initiatives, etc. This cannot happen. I hope the big groups band together and get ready to sue if it goes through. This is a continuous nightmare hanging over our heads.

  3. Mchele says:

    I have written to all my legislators and signed petitions to stop this. I feel in the current climate we live in it will be to no avail but I have to at least TRY.

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. It’s been out there, hanging over everyones’ head for a long time now.

  4. Tracy Quigley says:

    I have already called both my US representative’s office and my senator’s office about this bill and one knew nothing of it and the other knew only a little. I voiced my strong opinion against this horrific bill and asked that they not support it. I am expecting a call back from Representative Norcross’ office. I hope many more people will flood your representatives’ and senators’ offices with comments.

  5. Jennifer says:

    I thought there was a clause in the constitution that says State laws can be more strict that federal laws? Does this not go against the a States ability to have its own autonomous government? Why have States at all if they cannot create their own laws regulating their economies and policies reflective of their citizens wishes?

  6. Mary Pena says:

    Stop the Farm Bill..its so shameful they even think this is okay. It is not ok and needs to be stopped

  7. Dianna Ingram says:

    We do not eat dogs,cats or horses

  8. Laura L Umphenour says:

    All I can say is “Keep Voting Republican”…..the animals will suffer every time. I know HSUS is by-partisan…..but you can read the writing on the wall with how the Republican Party votes on animal issues. Its just disgusting. So glad their are organizations like HSUS and HSI to help protect the animals. When will this nightmare be over.

    • Debra says:

      You got it!! But, some Republican greed has infiltrated to Dem party, so, watch for and support the Progressive Dems!



  10. Susan says:

    Please Everyone contact your rep tell them to vote no on the King Amendment this is a horrific bill for animals and people, giving them and us no rights .

  11. Jean Gillespie says:

    The disgraceful King Amendment is so ridiculous that it would even get to the floor would be a nightmare. This is a new age of kindness and compassion. There is no room in this world for greed and self-serving idiots.

  12. Elaine Dodd says:

    Well said, Jean Gillespie.

    I have spent decades rescuing, fostering,
    Petitioning , and much more, just to keep things from slipping backwards in behalf of humane treatment of animals; their innocence, their silence makes them easy prey for the greedy.
    Elaine Dodd

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