USA: Fight This Renewed Assault on State Animal-Protection Laws

February 14, 2018

a chicken walking in grass

In January, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) introduced a new version of his so-called “Protect Interstate Commerce Act.” This bill is nearly identical to the dreaded “King Amendment,” which was defeated in the 2014 Farm Bill.  

Though the title of the bill sounds innocent, this treacherous legislation threatens animal-protection laws across the country. State bans on cruel devices like gestation crates for pigs, battery cages for laying hens, and other state-level measures that the ASPCA and animal advocates across the country fought hard to enact will be jeopardized if this bill moves forward. 

Rep. King’s bill threatens the constitutional power of states to enact laws that protect the health and welfare of animals. Specifically, the Protect Interstate Commerce Act strips states of the ability to enact and enforce laws regarding the production of any “agricultural products”—a term so broad that it includes not only farm animals like cows, chickens and pigs, but potentially dogs in puppy mills, who could also be considered “agricultural products” under current law.  

The bill has the potential to destroy hundreds, if not thousands, of important animal-protection laws, but here’s just one example: In 2016, the ASPCA worked to pass Question 3 in Massachusetts, a ballot measure that resulted in one of the most comprehensive farm animal-protection measures in the country. This law requires that eggs and certain meat produced and sold in the state come from farms without the cruelest confinement practices. If Congress passes the Protect Interstate Commerce Act, the Massachusetts law could be in jeopardy. Animals will once again be at risk for cruel farming practices, and the overwhelming will of Massachusetts voters, 77% of whom voted for the law, will be overturned.

Federal law should complement state animal-protection laws, not prevent them from being passed. Defeating the Protect Interstate Commerce Act is essential to ensure the protection of animals across the country. Visit our Advocacy Center today to contact your Member of Congress to urge them to oppose this dangerous legislation!