January 16, 2018

Humane Society Opposes Farm Bill

Note: On June 20, 2013, the House failed to pass the Farm Bill 195-234. Of the 273 votes against the bill, 172 were from Democrats and 62 were from Republicans. The current Farm Bill expires in September 2013.

The Humane Society is opposing the Farm Bill proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives because of the “King Amendment”, proposed by Steve King (R-IA) that may let states repeal laws on farm confinement, horse slaughter, and shark finning. ¬†The amendment is titled the “Protect Interstate Commerce Act”. In addition, House Republican leadership is refusing to add any animal welfare-related amendments to the Bill.

Humane Society advocates say that the King amendment “undermines the longstanding Constitutional rights of states to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens and local businesses. The King language creates a blanket federal preemption of state and local standards for agriculture production, but fails to offer any alternative.” If passed, the amendment could overturn Proposition 2 in California, which bans extreme confinement rates for pigs, veal calves, and laying hens; Proposition 204 in Arizona, which bans veal and pig gestation creates, and Proposition 6 in California which forbids the sale of horses for slaughter for human consumption.¬†Animal welfare and health does have an effect on food safety. Research has shown that animals raised under stress are more likely to develop illnesses and harbor pathogens that can be passed to humans.

For instance, the amendment would stop Florida legislators from enforcing that state’s law banning pig gestation creates. Paul Shapiro, vice president for farm animal protection at the Humane Society, said in a statement, “many major pork buyers like McDonald’s have said that they too want to adopt similar policies within their own pork supply chains, and Congressman King wants to erase those state laws, like Florida’s.” There is no legislation pending to replace any of those state laws. Usually, Congress replaces state laws with a uniform national standard, but that’s not happening in this case.

 

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