An all inclusive farm bill failed in the House on Friday even though Republican leadership gambled it would pass despite Democratic opposition. The final vote 198-213. Although it contained some positive provisions for animals, according to the Humane Society of the United States, it included the harmful provision—the “Protect Interstate Commerce Act” (H.R. 4879) inserted in committee by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).
Rep. Steve King’s amendment would essentially have ended state laws that protected against puppy mills selling sick puppies to the public and pet stores, selling horse, dog and cat meat and the promotion and sale of sharking “finning.” The legislation had been adamantly opposed by animal welfare groups with more than 200 organizations on the record opposing it, as did a bipartisan set of 119 Representatives led by Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.). The legislation would have stopped states from regulating “agricultural products” sold in other states and ended the prohibition of selling cat, dog, horse meat, shark fins and foie gras to states like California, Georgia, Mississippi and Oklahoma.
According to Michael Markarian, only six states have laws against preventing the dog and meat trade in the country. An overwhelming bipartisan vote of 359-51, included in the bill, would have strengthened federal laws on animal fighting. Sponsored by Reps. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), Blumenauer, John Faso (R-N.Y.), and Steve Knight (R-Calif.), the legislation clarified federal prohibitions against dogfighting and cockfighting applicable to the entire country.
In addition, the failed bill would have cancelled regulations about wood containing invasive pests crossing state lines, challenged rules on pesticides and threatened to end laws using warning labels currently for tobacco, alcohol and artificial sweetener consumption. The bill also would have ended the statewide bans on gestation crates for pigs and hens – wire enclosures where the animals can not move. An amendment to stop cruel and illegal “soring” of show horses was denied.
King attempted to include the same legislation in 2013, but met similar opposition from animal rights groups. Large pet stores have since complained that state and local laws prohibit them from buying puppy mill pets thus being forced out of business.
King previously supported permitting the trophy killing of polar bears and importing the heads and hides killed in Canada. In 2012, King defended dog fighting in a town hall meeting when he stated it would be “wrong” to make it a crime since it’s legal to watch humans fight.
“…It’s wrong to rate animals about human beings and there’s something wrong with the priorities of people who would ban animals from fighting,” King stated.
Even though King backed off on the controversial stance when his statements went viral, in 2017, he was just one of 39 House representatives to oppose stronger penalties for transporting fighting animals across state lines and repeatedly voted “to wipe out state laws restricting the sale of dog and cat meat.”
“We thank everyone around the country who weighed in with their members of Congress to keep anti-animal welfare language out of the Farm Bill and to include critical animal protection provisions. As the House turns back to putting together a Farm Bill with stronger bipartisan support, we urge legislators to remove the intensely controversial King language and, as in past Farm Bills, include advances for animals such as the already approved provisions on animal fighting and the dog and cat meat trade as well as others.”
For more information to your lawmakers, please click here. Make a change and get out and vote this November. Share the news.
(Photo of puppy mill victim via ASPCA)
Please SUBSCRIBE to receive more current, animal-related news.
Did you know that if you want to get updates from a Facebook page, you need to do more than “like” it? To get recent postings in your Facebook feed, you must also hover your mouse over the word “following” and then click “see first” from the drop-down menu. You may want to check back with your favorite pages on occasion because Facebook often changes your settings, no longer having your having your favorites among those to “see first.
Heinous cruelty – woman accused of beating ex-boyfriend’s dog in the face with a tire iron – read more here
Puppy lost her eye after children allegedly pelted her with rocks – more here.