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King farm bill amendment draws controversyKing farm bill amendment draws controversy

Protect Interstate Commerce Act has support of egg farmers association, but is opposed by Family Farm Action.

August 9, 2018

3 Min Read
David McNew/ThinkstockPhotos

Updated 8/9/18

Family Farm Action is launching a new ad campaign against Rep. Steve King’s Protect Interstate Commerce Act.

The Family Farm Action coalition of farmers, rural Americans and advocates says the King amendment violates the 10thAmendment and should be called the “States’ Rights Elimination Act.” The coalition says the bill negates laws governing pesticide application, farm labor, consumer protections like BPA free baby food containers and farm safeguards such as the transport of commodities like diseased firewood.

“The Senate passed a bipartisan farm bill that would give farmers a little bit of security during these tough times, but Rep. Steve King’s radical legislation will poison the process,” said Wes Shoemyer, Missouri farmer and Family Farm Action board member. “Over one hundred farm organization have signed a letter making it clear we don’t want the King Amendment but he continues to push the agenda of his agribusiness friends at the expense of hard-working family farmers like me.”

The ads will air on TV in five states and nationwide on social media asking voters to “tell Congress to reject the King Amendment.”

July 19, 2018

The National Association of Egg Farmers is supporting King’s “Protect Interstate Commerce Act,” which is included in the House Farm Bill.

The legislation is designed to end efforts by some states to regulate the means of production of agricultural goods in other states.

The state of California is attempting to prevent the sale of eggs that are raised in any state which does not adhere to California’s regulations governing cage sizes. Such restrictions are an unconstitutional infringement on Congress’s constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce, King asserts.

“States do not have the Constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce; the United States Congress does,” he said. “If California, or any other state, wants to regulate how products are made within their borders, they can do so. But Iowa’s producers should not be held hostage to the demands of California’s vegan lobby and California’s regulatory agencies.”

The National Association of Egg Farmers says farmers moved to cage their chickens out of concern for animal welfare and also for egg-quality improvements.

“Research has shown higher mortality among cage-free chickens,” the release states. It further states that “forcing chickens into production systems that increase bone breakage is inhumane.”

The National Association of Egg Farmers lists these disadvantages of cage-free chickens:

  • There is more pecking of chickens when more birds are together;

  • There are more broken breast bones in cage-free chickens;

  • There are more external parasites in cage-free farms, specifically red mites.

California is struggling with an outbreak of Virulent Newcastle Disease, with more than 40 outbreaks in cage-free backyard poultry, according to the egg farmers association. Once discovered, these chickens have to be destroyed and forcing chickens into production systems where they contract poultry diseases is inhumane, the association says.

“Farmers know how to produce safe, quality eggs while caring for their chickens,” the association says. “Don’t take that knowledge away by removing consumers’ choices and forcing only cage-free eggs.”

Source: Office of Rep. Steve King,  National Association of Egg Farmers, Family Farm Action

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