SECRETARY VILSACK APPEARS TO BE SIDING WITH HSUS
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today released statements in response to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s comments made yesterday during a conference call in which he reportedly claimed the King Amendment to the farm bill is “troublesome.”
“It is very troublesome that Secretary Vilsack appears to be siding with California and HSUS rather than standing up for all farmers producing legal and safe agriculture products. If the Secretary truly has concerns about the King amendment, then he should work to address those concerns while the bill is in conference committee rather than speaking out against it,” declared Northey.
As we’ve described in previous blog posts, the King Amendment, also known as the Protect Interstate Commerce Act, was proposed to reinforce the powers of the commerce clause listed in the U.S. Constitution. The King Amendment is aimed to prohibit individual states from dictating agriculture production standards in other states.
In 2008, California passed Prop 2, primarily led and funded by the Humane Society of the United States, which created arbitrary cage size requirements for laying hens. Soon after the initiative passed, lawmakers realized that California producers, faced with Prop 2 compliance, would simply move production facilities across state lines. This prompted a second California law to regulate the sale of eggs sold in California supplied by out-of-state producers. This law seemingly conflicts with the commerce clause found in Article 3 of the U.S. Constitution.
Secretary Northey continued his comments, stating,
“California should not be allowed to dictate production methods to the rest of the country. This has the makings of an internal US trade war. If it starts with eggs, you can be sure it won't end with eggs.”
Our country already fights nontariff protectionist trade barriers from the European Union and Asia. We can’t tolerate the same practices between our own States which only drive up the cost of food for all consumers.
“I would hope and expect Secretary Vilsack to be supportive of laws that ensure consumers have access to legal and safe products. USDA inspectors approve the sale of egg products. If eggs are safe to be sold in Iowa and around the country they should be able to be sold in California, that is all this amendment is trying to assure,” Northey continued.
The only thing worse than an unfunded mandate handed down by Washington is an unfunded mandate forced on every other state by California. California’s mandate amounts to a tax on food as elevated costs make food less affordable for Americans living below the poverty level.
California’s Prop 2 threatens egg producers and consumers nationwide and it’s only one’s imagination that limits what groups like HSUS will attack next using this dangerous legislative model.
What questions do you have regarding the King Amendment?