Representative Steve King (R-IA), who is the sponsor of an amendment to the House Farm Bill that is both astonishingly hypocritical and devastating to food safety laws that protect millions of Americans from illness, recently gave an interview to the Daily Caller to brag about what he had accomplished. The King Amendment would essentially prevent states from developing strong independent health, safety, and cruelty standards, even if local voters want them.
This isn’t an unintended consequence — King told the Daily Caller that his amendment “fixes the states and their political subdivisions regulating food production everywhere in America.” However, King might want to reconsider that position, as his amendment would legalize several horrific farming and food practices that some states have chosen to do away with:
- Florida, Ohio, and seven other states have banned confining pregnant pigs in cages that prevent them from moving their limbs or walking in a circle. Pigs confined in so-called gestation crates are forced to defecate where they stand, exposed to serious risk of traumatic injury as a consequence of immobility, and develop sores as a consequence of attempting to move against or bite the bars the bars that confine them. They live their whole lives like this.
- Seven states have banned similar confinement for baby calves. So-called veal creates are designed to atrophy muscles to improve the taste of meat, creating what the ASPCA calls “lives of agony and frustration” for the cows until they are slaughtered at four or five months.
- Three states have banned tail-docking, wherein parts of cows tails are lopped off, occasionally without anesthetic. The American Veterinary Medical Association opposes tail docking as unnecessary and highly painful.
- Maryland prohibits adding arsenic to chicken feed, which — besides the obvious problems — also spreads the poison into the surrounding soil.
King, though, brags that his legislation “wipes out everything they’ve [animal rights advocates] done with pork and veal.” Indeed, King has a long record of opposing animal welfare law — he has, for example, been Congress’ leading advocate against anti-dogfighting legislation. He also believes that the Humane Society and other animal rights advocates are attempting to ban “production agriculture” and has fantasized about exposing vegetarians with “an agenda for our diets” on the House floor.