.- Congressman Steve King, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, announces that his “Protect Interstate Commerce Act” amendment included in the House-passed version of the Farm Bill has been endorsed by the nation’s egg farmers. In a statement released today by the National Association of Egg Farmers, the organization is calling upon House and Senate Farm Bill conferees to agree to preserve King’s amendment in the final version of the Farm Bill.
“States do not have the Constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce; the United States Congress does,” said King. “Egg farmers in Iowa and around the country understand the importance of continued access to California’s market, and they are right to object to California’s attempt to regulate out-of-state producers. PICA fixes this problem and ensures that agriculture producers in the other 49 states are not held hostage to the demands of California’s Vegan Lobby. I appreciate the National Association of Egg Farmers public support for preserving the King PICA Amendment in the Farm Bill.”
The National Association of Egg Farmers were generous in their praise of Congressman King’s legislation, noting that they support PICA because it both “seeks to uphold the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause” and also because it respects “farmers know how” in the production of “safe, quality eggs while caring for their chickens.” The National Association of Egg Farmers also expresses concerns that a failure to keep King’s language in the Farm Bill could lead to California’s regulations “removing consumers’ choices and forcing only cage-free eggs.”
Some excerpts from the National Association of Egg Farmers’ statement follow:
“The Farm Bill is before Congress every five years and is important to the nation’s farmers. This year it is very important to National Association of Egg Farmers members, as the House version includes an amendment from Rep. Steve King from Iowa that seeks to uphold the U.S. Constitution commerce clause.”
“In effect that clause says Congress is to regulate commerce among the states, but certain states are implementing laws regulating how eggs are produced outside the state and then imported into that state. Specifically, they are pressing for removing cages for egg-laying hens. They claim they are doing it for the welfare of the chicken and the quality of the egg. They need to ask the farmers. Farmers today moved to cages for welfare considerations and for egg quality improvements.
. . .
“There are more external parasites in cage-free farms, specifically red mites. 83% of European cage-free egg farms are already infested with poultry red mites. All 27 member nations in the EU are about 40% cage-free compared to 16% in the U.S. Subjecting poultry to parasites is inhumane.
Currently, California is struggling with a major poultry disease (Virulent Newcastle Disease) with more than 40 outbreaks in backyard poultry that are cage-free. Once discovered, these chickens have to be destroyed. Forcing chickens into production systems where they contract poultry diseases is inhumane.”
. . .
“Farmers know how to produce safe, quality eggs while caring for their chickens. Don’t take that knowledge away by removing consumers’ choices and forcing only cage-free eggs.
It is for these reasons National Egg Farmers is urging support for the King amendment in the Farm Bill.”