The Humane Society of the United States in recent weeks has been turning up the heat on Congress to throw out a state's rights amendment offered by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, in the 2013 Farm Bill.
The King amendment, also known as the Protect Interstate Commerce Act amendment, would prevent states from enacting laws that place conditions on how agricultural goods are raised or grown within the state's borders for sale in other states.
The PICA amendment puts significant pressure on standing laws in California, for example, which require that all egg-laying hens be housed in larger cages by 2015. The state's laws further require that all eggs sold in the state must be produced by farms that adhere to California's cage standards.
King explained that in California's case, the impact of their large market would "compel producers in other states to invest billions to meet the California standard of 'means of production,'" thereby harming ag trade.
In an op-ed for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, King further explained that laws such as California's create new federal animal welfare standards by imposing an unconstitutional trade barrier.
"If this law is allowed to stand, there is nothing preventing other states from imposing similar standards, which could further restrict producers in other states," King said.
King also argued that his farm bill amendment would "shut down the Humane Society of the United States, PETA and other radical organizations from creating a network of restrictive state laws that will slowly push agriculture production towards the demise."
But HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle fired back with his own take on the regulations, calling King "one of the most radical Members of Congress" in an August 2 blog post.