Name: Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018/Farm Bill
Bill Number: HR 2 / SB 3042
The House and Senate have now passed different
versions of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (Farm Bill): House of
Representatives Bill 2, and the text of Senate Bill 3042. While there are
numerous and substantive differences between the two versions, the most
important distinction for animal advocates is that only the House version
contains what is known as the “King amendment,” a provision that is extremely
detrimental to state animal welfare efforts.
The Senate, in considering the Farm Bill, substituted its own language for the
House version, striking the King amendment language. This revised bill is now
being considered by a conference committee made up of members of both chambers.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has
insisted that the committee consider the Senate version of the bill, as it was
drafted and passed with bipartisan support, unlike the House version of the
bill, which struggled to pass, and did so only down party lines.
The Farm Bill is comprehensive legislation
passed by Congress every five years. It covers an array of agricultural, food
and farming policies and programs, including appropriations for these programs.
It is necessary to ensure policy and funding for many programs, and once it is
approved by the conference committee must once again obtain a “yes” vote from
both the House and Senate.
It is crucial that the final version approved by the conference
committee represents animal welfare interests.
Among the detrimental aspects of the King amendment
is the fact that it 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.
Consequently, the bill would 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.
And the King amendment doesn’t stop there. It also
would allow any individual, corporation or government entity to challenge—and
potentially invalidate—a state or local government’s humane regulations.
Additionally, it would threaten other
important state laws that affect farm worker safety, environmental laws,
employment contracts and pesticide use. It is difficult to predict what the
final language of the bill will be; however, if Senator McConnell has his way,
the King amendment would not be considered for inclusion in the final bill, and
state animal welfare laws would remain in place.
Call to Actions:
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Please Oppose the Inclusion of the King Amendment in the Final Farm Bill
Dear [Decision Maker],
As you go into negotiations to finalize the language for HR 2, the Farm Bill, I urge you to continue your support for the language in the Senate version that provides both bipartisanship and balance in this important legislation. This is a long and complex bill, but the support given to the Senate version demonstrates that it is the best representation of the interests of the country and should be given priority.While many changes are generally made to bills once they are considered by the conference committee, I applaud your demand that the Senate version of the bill stand as the bill under consideration. One provision that is in the House version of the bill, the King amendment, is a matter of great concern. This amendment attacks 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. While this language is not in the Senate version of the bill, I ask that you take care that the language contained in Sections 11701 and 11702 of the House bill not be included in any final version agreed upon by this committee. Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]