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Farm Bill Considered in Senate

Farm Bill Considered in Senate

Name: Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018/Farm Bill

Bill Number: HR 2/S 3042

HR 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, and S 3042, the Senate version of the “Farm Bill,” is comprehensive legislation passed by Congress every five years. The Farm Bill covers an array of agricultural, food and farming policies and programs, including appropriations for these programs.

The House has passed HR 2 with the inclusion of the King Amendment, a provision extremely detrimental to state animal welfare efforts. Proposed by Iowa Congressman Steve King, this provision would allow producers in states without any humane welfare standards (such as a ban on battery cages or gestation crates) to market their products in states that have enacted such reforms. This would put the farmers in “humane” states at a strong economic disadvantage, as humanely raised products are more expensive to produce. It would also, therefore, make it virtually impossible for additional states to pass legislation mandating more humane (and costly) farming measures, because such welfare standards would drive producers out of business as cheaper products from other states flood the market.

Moreover, the language of this bill would impact proposed bans on the sale of animal-tested cosmetics products. California and New York, which already prohibit the use of animals for safety testing on cosmetics, have proposed restricting the sale of cosmetics that were tested using animals outside their states. The King provision would make it impossible to implement such a law.

And the King amendment doesn’t stop there. It would allow any individual, corporation or government entity to challenge—and potentially invalidate—a state or local government’s humane regulations. The King amendment would also threaten other important state laws that affect farm worker safety, environmental laws, employment contracts and pesticide use.

The Senate has proposed substituting the language of their Farm Bill, S 3042—which does not include this language—for the House-passed bill.

However, they are also considering an amendment by Sen. Cruz to include the language of the Saving America’s Endangered Species (SAVES) Act, which is a deceptively-named bill that would put already endangered animals at risk.

The Senate will likely approve its own language and the bill will be sent to a conference committee to work out a final version of the Farm Bill.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict what the final outcome will be. It is imperative that we let our elected officials know that we object to the inclusion of the King Amendment, as well as the SAVES Act, in the final bill. Passage of these provisions would be a loss to animal welfare, as well as taking authority away from the states to determine their own priorities. 

 

Call to Actions:

  1. Please contact your U.S. Senators and Representative and urge them to OPPOSE the King amendment to the Farm Bill.
  2. Spread the word! Share this page with your social network.

 

Recipients

  • Your Senators
  • Your Representative

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Message

Please Oppose the Inclusion of the King Amendment in the Final Farm Bill

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to ask you to oppose the language contained in Sections 11701 and 11702 of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, HR 2, known as the "Farm Bill." This language was proposed by Rep. Steve King as an amendment to HR 2 and would destroy state autonomy by giving other states, as well as corporations and even individuals, a federal private right of action to challenge a state's and local government's laws that affect any aspect of agriculture, including state mandates for specific humane farming reforms.

Any entity bringing a cause of action against such a state law will result in a preliminary injunction to preclude that state from enforcing their regulations until the matter is adjudicated. This raises serious constitutional concerns about the sanctity of all states' rights.

If the King amendment becomes law, it would allow states without any humane welfare standards, such as a ban on battery cages or gestation crates, to market their products in states that have enacted such reforms. This would put the farmers in those few "humane" states at a strong economic disadvantage, as humanely raised products are more expensive to produce. It would, in turn, make it virtually impossible to pass legislation mandating more humane (and costly) farming measures, because such welfare standards would drive producers out of business as cheaper products from other states flood the market. The federal court, in denying the state of Missouri's challenge of California's ban on the sale of eggs from battery cages, has already determined the constitutionality of this type of law. The inclusion of the King amendment language in the Farm Bill would open the door to invalidating the ban.

Over the years, consumers have demanded food products that are produced under improved animal welfare standards. States have adopted these measures in response to demands from their residents. The King amendment would set aside these local decisions, without regard to the voters of those states who instituted animal protective measures.

In addition, I ask you to oppose the addition in the Farm Bill of the language of HR 2603/S 2778, the SAVES act, which would deny crucial protections to wildlife not native to the United States.

Members of both chambers will be responsible for passage of the final Farm Bill and I ask that you ensure that essential provisions are enacted without additional harm to the rights of animals and state autonomy.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]