A Frightful Farm Bill Amendment

The animal haters are fighting back, and they have friends in high places.

Last night, during consideration of the 2012 farm bill, the House Agriculture Committee approved an amendment that is intended to overturn every voter-approved animal welfare ballot measure relating to agriculture–Prop 2 in California (banning extreme confinement crates for pigs, veal calves, and laying hens), Prop 6 in California (forbidding the sale of horses for slaughter for human consumption), Prop 204 in Arizona (banning veal and gestation crates), and Amendment 10 in Florida (outlawing gestation crates). The amendment, offered by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, would also nullify six other state bans on gestation crates, horse slaughter bans in a half-dozen other states, and a raft of anti-downer laws and other animal protection laws designed to shield farm animals from abuse and extreme confinement.

But while animal welfare laws may be King’s primary intended target, his amendment reaches way beyond that.  It also seeks to nullify every state, county, or local law that creates any standard or condition established relating to an agricultural production activity.  We’d have no state laws for agricultural facilities relating to worker rights, animal welfare, environmental protection, or public health. It’s hard to overstate how sweeping and far-reaching the King amendment is. It’s the biggest attack on states’ rights and the 10th Amendment that I’ve ever seen.  It tries to put the federal government in absolute control of all agriculture, and take states and local governments entirely out of the picture in terms of any balance between agriculture and the values we hold dear in society.

The fact is, Rep. King doesn’t want any laws to protect animals, and perhaps not laws to protect the environment, workers, or public safety. His goal when it comes to animals was made plain during debate on a separate amendment–one offered by Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., to make it a crime to attend a dogfight or cockfight or to bring a child to one of these fights. King, who fought against anti-cruelty laws when he was a state legislator, argued for the defeat of the McGovern amendment, just as he has repeatedly tried to block the enactment of prior upgrades of the federal animal fighting law. In yesterday’s battle, he got an assist from two veteran lawmakers–former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., and the current committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla.

Full story



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bubo's Girl
    Jul 14, 2012 @ 17:31:48

    I’m not up on th King farm bill, but that does sound scary, who then do they see fit to oversee argicultral legislation in th federal Governmental Departments? Would the reorganization from State to federal create a more unified standard in farm cruelty practices? How would will this efect commerse in the agricultural industries? This gives a lot to ponder, and requires for me to do more exstensive research. Very thought provoking. 🙂


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