Senate Considers Threat to Animal Protection Laws in Farm Bill

This week’s Take Action Thursday urges swift opposition to the House-passed Farm Bill, which threatens state efforts to require better animal welfare standards.

Federal Legislation

HR 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, or the “Farm Bill,” is comprehensive legislation that is passed by Congress every five years. On June 21, this bill passed the House and was sent to the Senate for consideration.

While the Farm Bill covers a wide array of agricultural, food and farming policies and funding, the current bill is of particular concern because of Section 11701—the last section in the bill, which would have serious repercussions to animal welfare concerns. This provision, proposed as an amendment by Rep. Steve King (R-IA), 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 make it virtually impossible for additional states to pass legislation mandating more humane (and costly) farming measures, because food produced with higher welfare standards would be too expensive to compete with cheaper products from other states.

This bill may also 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 amendment may make it impossible to implement such a law.

The amendment has even more potential for harm. It would allow any individual, corporation or government entity to challenge—and potentially invalidate—a state or local government’s humane regulations. The state of Missouri has unsuccessfully challenged California’s ban on the sale of eggs from battery cages in the past, but passage of the King amendment would open the door to invalidating the ban.

The Senate is currently debating the Farm Bill. It has proposed substituting its own version of the Farm Bill, S 3042, for that of the House. Although the Senate version does not include the provisions found in the King Amendment, this bill will ultimately be sent to a conference committee made up of members of both chambers to work out a final compromise.

Tell your U.S. Senators and Representative to OPPOSE the inclusion of the King amendment in the final version of the Farm Bill.
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Want to do more? Visit the NAVS Advocacy Center to TAKE ACTION on behalf of animals in your state and around the country. And please make a donation today to support the advancement of humane legislation across the U.S.

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This entry was posted in News on July 3, 2018.
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