King Amendment to Farm Bill faces HSUS opposition

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An amendment to the Farm Bill by Congressman Steve King, R-Iowa, preventing one state from regulating production practices in other states is facing criticism from the Humane Society of the United States.

King explained the addition, known as the King Amendment, on Tuesday’s Beltway Beef weekly audio by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. The amendment says states cannot regulate the manufacture or means of production of the agriculture products that are listed in current law.

In the interview, he cites California as an example of one state influencing regulation in the other 49 states, forcing added infrastructure and raising the cost of livestock production.

“California passed a referendum that doubled the cage size requirement for laying hens, and that’s fine. But then they passed a law that said no eggs can come into California unless they’re also raised in double the cage size. That means double the infrastructure investment for all of our laying houses in America, because California’s that big of a market that they can command that.”

The amendment if facing opposition from what King calls the Vegan Lobby, the HSUS. King says they are trying to raise the cost of production to reduce consumption of eggs, milk, cheese and meats.

“The best people to manage our livestock are the ones who have a vested interest in it,” King said. “Our feeders are the people that will make sure our cattle are taken care of because they care about them, they care about the production.”

The amendment doesn’t affect animal health, and only addresses means of production of agriculture products. King says large animal veterinarians are supportive of the amendment as it leaves animal health in the same condition it’s in today and doesn’t inhibit states or federal government.

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Terry Ward    
Pa.  |  November, 13, 2013 at 07:48 AM

So much for state's rights.

kansas  |  November, 13, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Terry - Thanks for sharing your pompous ignorance of the "reach" of this law and its effects on InterState Commerce. Your law degree was apparently mail-order, and you need to get your money back. While the King amendment has merit, the appropriate action - as temporarily painful as it might be - would be to follow the lead of other industries and simply stop selling these products in California. In-State producers can simply cease production and move their operations elsewhere. Let the consequences, poultry product shortages and incredibly inflated prices, run their course with Cali-Consumers. It's the only lesson they'll understand and the only way to protect the balance of U.S. consumers from the high costs of satisfying the ridiculous demands from the failed State, Peoples' Republic of California, extremists.

Terry Ward    
Pa.  |  November, 13, 2013 at 01:41 PM

Balderdash Anyone who rants Bagger conspiracies and attempts to make enemies of their fellow American citizens ...and their customers, duh...deserves a seat at the next David Icke convention.

Tracey Williamson    
Oklahoma  |  November, 13, 2013 at 01:43 PM

This amendment is a disaster for states rights and removes too many protections in place for the animals. King is a zealot, but is is good company with Kingston, Kohl and Blunt. The cattle industry had better wake up to few things that are coming down the pike. King and his cronies like to call the HSUS and anyone who wants better treatment for animals PETA people, vegan tree huggers, hippies and terrorists. Such a joke, nothing but more propaganda to discredit those who are paying attention to what is really going on. I am no PETA person, hippy or terrorists. What I am is sick and tired of is money running roughshod over morality and compassion for the animals at our mercy. And I might add any cattleman supporting horse slaughter is a fool. Their fear is that animals rights will get a foot in the door and put an end to the beef industry, rodeo etc. In reality you are compromising your own product and as more and more people find out that cattlemen are behind it, they are boycotting beef. Some because they already believe horse meat is in our beef and others because they know it will be, and they resent the cattlemen supporting horse slaughter. In Oklahoma the law against it was in place to protect the beef supply , how stupid they are compromising their own product by supporting it now. Wake up and face the fact animals deserve better treatment, back room deals and sweeping amendments to allow abuse will not stand. The King amendment is bad.

richard cadena    
los angeles  |  November, 13, 2013 at 03:28 PM

i think that mr. king should stick to his state and allow californians to decide for ourselves what we want and don't want pertaining to our food supplies. i am against CAFOs because they are not ethical nor humane--they exist only for profit. i have reduced my intake of meats/egge/poultry and now only buy from ranches/farms i have visited and respect. i don't need to look at the horrific videos floating around to know that any huge operation is not based primarily on the lives of the animals slaughtered but on the profits generated in the quickest and cheapest way possible. that is why these entities do not allow visits by the public---its not because of safety or health concerns--if it was, i would not have been able to visit the ranches and farms i did. i have an ethical and moral responsibility as a meat eater to do what i can to source my food from those who actually practice humanely raised and slaughtered methods

Johnny Stansell    
Abilene Texas  |  November, 13, 2013 at 04:16 PM

HSUS is all about their bloated salaries and pensions with massive advertising to support them. Almost nothing goes to what their advertising suggest, but law suits and getting laws passed are also a part of their spending.

Johnny Stansell    
Abilene, Tx  |  November, 13, 2013 at 04:34 PM

I am against big cities. No farmer in America/World concentrates poison to the air, water, and soil as any big city. Application rates of chemical fertilizer/pesticide/herbicide/toxic gasses by average city dwellers are massive compared to any farmer. Big cities are basically a CAFO and the most egregious violators of the environment on earth.

Iowa  |  November, 15, 2013 at 09:44 AM

As much as I support Representative King in general, I have to agree with Terry. When you make a product economically nonviable in your own state, you should have to deal with the consequences. Now, when eggs are going for $12/dozen in CA, I'm sure someone from a neighboring state will change the way they're operating to take advantage of some of that money, and good for them. If California's really think that their vision of chicken welfare is worth the cost, let them pay it.

Iowa  |  November, 15, 2013 at 09:45 AM

Correction. I agree with Michael, not Terry.

SD  |  November, 16, 2013 at 08:19 PM

If you walked onto a CAFO, would you know it? You've painted an incredibly narrow minded picture of all modern livestock operations, one that is totally inaccurate. Having my cows exposed to the elements would be inhumane, 30 below zero or 110 above is no place for a dairy cow. As to statements that a CAFO wouldn't allow public visits, we have tours several times a year. Its incumbent upon us to show consumers the practices of a modern farm are not the picture the animal rights industry has created. Our biggest problem is we've allowed consumers to lose all ties to agriculture. I've yet to have a negative experience with a tour, from kindergarteners to dieticians. Most have never seen a cow or a dairy farm, and certainly don't understand where their food comes from, which I blame on farmers for not sticking up for ourselves. Showing a cow, laying down in her comfortable stall , chewing her cud , making milk, isn't very sensational, so it doesn't create a sensational story like when Mercy for Animals puts an operative in an operation and has them encourage abuse of an animal solely to generate more contributions.

Shane Destry    
Missouri  |  November, 20, 2013 at 03:49 PM

this article is to be commended for clearly pointing out the dangers inherent in the King Amendment. It represents a grave assault upon not only animal welfare but upon our right as citizens to be heard on state and local levels. If a state like Missouri votes to ban by direct popular vote horse slaughter or permitting large hog farms to contaminate its environment, it should retain the power to do so against the interests of large corporations only interested in maximizing their profit and leaving a state to pay for the health and environmental hazards. This push for the King Amendment is yet another expression of the Supreme Court ruling, Citizens United, which turned the constitution upside down and needs to be overturned !That ruling said that political expression is proportionate to amount of money spent, meaning corporations always trump the will of the people expressed in direct voting. But the Constitution is based on the natural rights principle that all people are equal in their political expression by birthright. Put simply, the King Amendment says that Monsanto, not the will of the people, shall dictate law. But that is corporate fascism, not democracy.

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