- - Thursday, October 3, 2013

Laura Sesana’s piece, “The King amendment to the farm bill threatens states’ rights” (Web, Sept. 28) reads as if it were authored by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). It is clear in reading the column that many of the “facts” about my amendment come directly from the anti-meat organization. Ms. Sesana even links to their website.

Allow me to tell you the truth about my amendment to the farm bill. The United States enjoys free trade among the states, and to ensure this would always be the case, the Founders gave Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce. Thus, one state has never had the authority to ban the sale of any good produced within this country based solely on the manufacturing or production standards of the state in which those goods were produced. The King Amendment merely clarifies and reaffirms this long-standing constitutional principle.

My amendment in no way affects a state’s ability to govern the manufacture or production of an agriculture product within that state, nor does it nullify any federal animal-welfare laws already on the books. It only applies to the production and manufacture of agriculture products, so claims that it would affect labeling of products or child labor laws are flat-out dishonest.

Ms. Sesana claims that because there were no hearings held on the amendment before it was added to the 2012 farm bill, Congress hasn’t had adequate time to consider the implications. However, more than 100 amendments were filed to the 2012 farm bill. There was extensive debate in the committee when the amendment was accepted by a voice vote, and when the 2013 farm bill came before the committee there was again significant debate on the measure. A second-degree amendment was offered to nullify my amendment and was defeated. I can’t imagine I would have been able to secure the support of both the chairman and the ranking member of the Agriculture Committee if the amendment did even half the outrageous things Ms. Sesana and HSUS allege.

As a lifelong Iowan, I understand the complexities involved in raising livestock and appreciate the value producers bring to the local economy. Producers care about the health and well-being of the livestock they raise and understand the need to care for their livestock because a contented animal is a productive one. My amendment gained support from many of the largest animal agriculture associations, which only further illustrates the gap in the understanding held by those who make their living from agriculture and those, like HSUS, who work tirelessly everyday to shut down all animal agriculture across the United States. One of their objectives is to take meat off your plate.

REP. STEVE KING

Iowa Republican

Washington