Good riddance to Steve King: Iowa primary voters dump U.S. congressman who supported horse slaughter, dogfighting and factory farming

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson

By on June 3, 2020 with 11 Comments

There is perhaps no one in the recent history of Congress who, during his term in office, has attempted to wreak more havoc on animals than Steve King. The Iowa Republican has supported killing horses for human consumption; opposed including pets in disaster planning; defended dogfighting and cockfighting, including allowing children to attend such fights; and attempted to block states from making commonsense reforms for animals by repeatedly advocating for the infamous King amendment in the Farm Bills.

He usually didn’t get his way on these matters, but it would be fair to say that if there was an animal welfare issue under consideration in Congress, King was most likely on the wrong side of it.

That’s why we couldn’t be happier that Iowa voters handed King a clear defeat in their state’s primary yesterday.

King was the worst kind of politician: one who worked against the interests of animals and the nation itself at the behest of special interests. His district included one of the highest concentrations of egg-laying hens in the country, and this may explain some of his hostility toward animal welfare issues. Over the years he launched multiple volleys against some of the most important reforms the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund championed—volleys we successfully deflected.

Among his most vicious attacks were his proposed amendments to the Farm Bill, the omnibus bill that covers everything from farm safety nets to land conservation programs to nutrition programs for low-income citizens. In 2014, and again in 2018, King tacked on to the Farm Bill the Protect Interstate Commerce Act, which came to be known as the King amendment, that threatened immeasurable harm to animals, by nullifying state and local laws that address, among other issues, the consumption of horse and dog meat, ending the slaughter of horses, the extreme confinement of farm animals, shark finning and animals in puppy mills.

The King amendment also threatened to undermine the work carried out by states and localities to protect their citizens in a broad range of policy areas, including food safety, child labor, opioids, pesticide exposure, fire-safe cigarettes, manure management and handling of diseased livestock. Fortunately, it was defeated both times, with HSLF leading the lobbying effort to defeat it.

To cite just a few more examples of his shameful efforts, King voted against the Animal Fighting Enforcement Prohibition Act, which was signed into law in 2007, and which strengthened penalties for illegal dogfighting and cockfighting, making it a felony to transport animals across state lines for these gruesome and barbaric fights. He repeatedly voted for legislation that undermines the Endangered Species Act, removing critical protections for native American carnivores like grizzly bears and wolves. Last year he voted against the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 693, a bill to crack down on the practice of “soring,” in which trainers deliberately inflict pain on the hooves and legs of Tennessee walking horses and related breeds to force them to perform an unnaturally high-stepping gait for competitions. That bill passed the full House by a bipartisan majority of 333-96—a measure of just how out of step he is with his own colleagues.

King’s positions, especially in the proposed Farm Bill amendments, were often at odds with core Republican Party values, like respecting states’ rights and reinforcing local government, and it was a wonder he lasted as long as he did. As he limps through the final months of the 116th Congress and makes his ignominious exit, we couldn’t be more excited to see the last of him. With countless millions of Americans focusing on making the world a better place for animals and for all people, there is no room left for someone who has so consistently displayed the worst of human instincts.

Goodbye, Steve King, and good riddance.

Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Companion Animals, Equine, Farm Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Michele Obrien says:

    Great news for sure.

  2. Sylvia Lewis says:

    Finally, some good news. We finally got rid of that SOB!

  3. Dave Wasser says:

    Thank you for leading the fight against Steve King!

  4. Alan Alejandro Maldonado Ortiz says:

    Como un gobierno que aprueba la violencia hacia los animales y la crueldad puede tener un puesto en el gobierno eso ya no se puede permitir

  5. Cathy Andriadis says:

    Thank you for all your efforts!

  6. Susan Trout says:

    This is really good news. I hope someone is elected that not only represents the views and needs of the people, but also has a heart and compassion for animals. Thanks for all the good work you do.

  7. Hazel Curtis says:

    Bonvoyage to a monstrocity!

  8. Shay Ward says:

    Good riddance to bad rubbish, as my Grandmother would say! Obviously, a person lacking in humanity, running on greed and corruption.

  9. DM says:

    What is wrong with the following comment that degrades Steve King appropriately? The HSUS needs to fill the job of policing comments with individuals who are more mature and have better common sense:

    Definition of psychopath: A mentally unstable person; especially: a person having an egocentric and antisocial personality marked by a lack of remorse for one’s actions, an absence of empathy for others, and often criminal tendencies; also, Steve King personality: high Intelligence, manipulator, arrogant, faulty moral compass, and lack of culpability.

  10. Laurie Miskell says:

    I couldn’t be happier to hear that. Anyone who would approve of watching two dogs fight to the death and allow children to see it has no compassion whats so ever and has no place in running our government.

  11. S.C. Gaffney says:

    I lived, unfortunately, in King’s district the 5 years I spent in Iowa. I have never in my life been so ashamed of having to admit who my Congressional Representative was. An ignorant, sycophantic jerk.

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