Egg Bill Scrambled

Last night, much to my chagrin, the Senate approved an agreement to allow a finite number of amendments to the farm bill (73 in total), and the major measures related to animal welfare were excluded from consideration. Among the provisions omitted were Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s amendment to codify the egg industry accord, as well as an amendment from Sen. Richard Blumenthal to build on the existing federal law against animal fighting by making it a crime to attend or to bring a minor to a dogfight or cockfight.

The long and the short is, key lawmakers bowed to pressure from the meat industry, specifically the pork and cattle industries. Now mind you, these industries have zero stake in the egg industry, and no economic interest in animal fighting, either. They simply want to obstruct any and all progress for animal welfare, believing that any Congressional action on animal welfare will eventually reflect poorly on their practices and put more pressure on them to change.

With respect to the 200 major egg producers in the United States, we could say that they were outmuscled by the cattle and pork lobbies. In American politics, we now have a new truism: meat breaks eggs, just like rocks breaks scissors.

So there’ll be no debate in the Senate on the egg industry and its future during consideration of the farm bill. And that’s simply because some senators just won’t act in the national interest. Their fealty to the pork and cattle industries led them to throw the egg industry and animal welfare interests under the bus.

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