In keeping with the apparent theme of insanity running wild in Congress the House Agriculture Committee passed its version of the 2012 Farm Bill. Of particular interest to me is an amendment introduced by Congressman Steve King (R), Iowa. Known as the “Protect Interstate Commerce Act” (PICA), King is crowing its victory of inclusion in the final markup of the House Agriculture Committee’s Farm Bill.
Essentially, PICA “prohibits states from enacting laws that place onerous conditions on the means of production for agricultural goods that are sold within its own borders but are produced in other states”, says Kings website.
Specifically, King points to “free-range eggs” or “free-range pork” saying that “PICA will ensure that radical organizations like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and PETA are prohibited from establishing a patchwork of restrictive state laws aimed at slowly suffocating production agriculture out of existence.” According to meatingplace, King’s statement wasn’t as well crafted, saying the amendment will “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.”
Iowa’s egg farmers lead the nation in egg production, caring for nearly 60 million laying hens producing nearly 15 billion eggs per year. That’s almost one out of every five eggs produced in the United States, says the Iowa Egg Council (IEC). What isn’t said is that the great salmonella enteritidis outbreak in 2010 was linked to DeCoster Eggs, whose huge egg production operations in rural northern Iowa prompted the recall of 550 million eggs and sickened roughly 2,000 people. IEC also doesn’t tell you that a former manager in the network of companies owned by Jack DeCoster, plead guilty in 2012 for his role in a conspiracy to bribe a federal inspector to allow the sale of unapproved eggs.
California is at the crux of the issue when state legislation becomes effective in 2014 requiring only ‘free range’ eggs are sold. Voters in California and other states choose this. King argues that “the impact of their [CA] large market would compel producers in every other state to invest billions to meet the California standard” of production methods.
This has nothing to do with protecting interstate commerce. It has everything to do with protecting industrialized animal production and forcing its products on states that clearly don’t want them. Wouldn’t it be nice if all farmers could get a guarantee of business mandated by our government?
It appears that Congressman King is promoting farm animal practices which aren’t conscientious of animal welfare, public health, or food safety. King only knows that his state produces a lot of eggs which translate to big bucks!
What can one expect from a congressional member who rabidly defended “pink slime” in 2012? Using phrases and words such as “lean finely textured beef”, “enhancement”, and “supplement”, King went on an aggressive campaign pledging congressional hearings against those who conducted a “smear campaign” against pink slime.
Adding salt to the wound, other members of the House Agriculture Committee went along with Kings amendment. INSANITY!
Note: All links accessed 05/17/2013