Lawmakers in Washington continue to debate the 2013 Farm Bill.
Animal rights groups are saying an amendment to the bill introduced by Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa undermines animal welfare laws passed in several states, including Indiana.
“Any state law that imposes any standard or condition on agriculture could be vulnerable to a challenge because of Steve King’s amendment,” says Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States. “That’s why the Humane Society of the United States so vigorously opposes it.”
King has said he believes the wide variety of state animal welfare laws restricts commerce and creates obstacles for farm producers to widely sell their products.
But Pacelle says the King amendment could nullify hard-won rights for animals in 34 states.
He adds that animal welfare and health have an impact on the environment and food safety.
“Indiana is one of the biggest egg producing states in the country,” he explains. “And the King amendment would really forbid the state of Indiana from adopting humane treatment standards for laying hens. It could nullify the state’s anti-puppy mill law as well.”
Pacelle says the amendment could also hamper future efforts by Indiana to pass farm animal welfare laws.