In an unexpected development, on Friday, May 18, the U.S. House of Representatives voted down H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, better known as the Farm Bill. Though the failed bill contained a few animal-protection elements, it also included the Protect Interstate Commerce Act (PICA), often referred to as the King Provision, which jeopardized state animal welfare laws across the country.
Authored by Rep. Steve King (R-IA), the King Provision would erase animal-protection laws across the country by stripping states and localities of their ability to pass and enforce laws regarding the production of any “agricultural products.” This term is so broad that it includes not only farm animals like cows and pigs, but also dogs in puppy mills.
ASPCA animal advocates around the country voiced their opposition to this perilous measure. As the House reconsiders the Farm Bill in the coming weeks and the U.S. Senate moves its own version of the bill forward, the ASPCA will continue lobbying Congress to ensure that the final Farm Bill does not contain the King Provision language.
As offered, the bill did contain some good elements. An amendment offered by Reps. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and John Faso (R-NY) to close a loophole that prevents enforcement of the federal animal fighting statute in U.S. territories passed with overwhelming House support. Although cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, it remains legal and prevalent in the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The Farm Bill also contained a provision championed by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) that would ban the interstate commerce of dog and cat meat. We hope Congress retains these important provisions in the final Farm Bill.
As debate over the Farm Bill continues in the coming weeks, the ASPCA encourages Congress to craft and pass a version that rejects this dangerous language and protects our nation’s animals from vicious cruelty.
You can help! Visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center to contact your lawmakers in Washington, D.C., and urge them to oppose any language in the Farm Bill that will endanger animal welfare protections.