King Op-ed in USA Today: Rep. Steve King: Protect free trade among the states
Sep 17, 2013
The dishonest demonization of American agriculture is now, more than ever, poised to suck life out of our economy. On the other hand, Congress is poised to protect the millions of Americans who make their living putting food on our tables. But, radical animal rights groups are doing everything in their power to undermine that action with a dishonest propaganda campaign that should turn your stomach. The strategy of one group, the Humane Society of the United States (aka HSUS, or the vegan lobby) is obvious and played out as follows: When Californians voted to ban the use of certain cages for egg-laying hens, California egg producers were disadvantaged. So the California Legislature banned the sale of eggs not produced under these standards, thereby applying the will of the majority of one state onto the rest of the nation. This policy is called protectionism, and has failed throughout history. Such policies undermine the efficient system of trade we have always enjoyed, and the burden of regulation will drive food costs up. The U.S. enjoys free trade among the states. To ensure this is always the case, the Founders gave Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce. Simply put, California has never had the authority to ban the sale of any good produced in the U.S. based solely on the manufacturing or production standards of the state where it was produced. My bipartisan amendment merely clarifies and reaffirms this long-standing constitutional principle. Severely limited in scope, it has no effect on any state's right to regulate production within its own borders, nor does it nullify any federal animal welfare laws. "Photo-sympathetic" animal rights laws are not based on the scientifically, demonstrable well-being of livestock, nor are they based on food safety. They do not stand a chance in the legislatures of ag-producing states in the heartland, nor will they get any traction in Congress. Not surprisingly, animal rights groups are desperate to protect and extrapolate their victories in a few states. Please take their hyperbolic, hyperventilating statements like you might take your eggs, with a grain of salt.