A new bill—actually a re-tread of an amendment that grassroots activists like you defeated last year—is intended to protect Big Food and Big Farma. Action Alert!
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has reintroduced the Protect Interstate Commerce Act (PICA). He attempted to pass this legislation last year through an amendment to the Farm Bill, but ANH-USA and its allies successfully defeated the amendment. It was also roundly mocked by Stephen Colbert. Unfortunately, it still has powerful legs and could move.
Rep. King’s bill would prevent state and local government from interfering in the production and distribution of agricultural products via interstate and international commerce. In a statement, King justified the legislation by claiming that freeing chickens from cramped cages smaller than a standard sheet of paper was raising the cost of eggs too much!
One of the biggest problems with the bill is that it would undermine hard-won state GMO labeling bills. In particular, it would allow states that do not have labeling laws to freely sell their unlabeled products in states that do have labeling laws.
The bill is bad in other many ways as well:
- Besides effectively nullifying California’s ban on extreme confinement cages for laying hens, it would also nullify state laws in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, and Rhode Island dealing with intensive confinement of farm animals.
- It could undo laws on horse slaughter and horse meat in California, Florida, Illinois, Mississippi, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Texas (and a ban in New Jersey currently awaiting signature into law); bans on the sale of foie gras produced by force-feeding; bans on commerce in shark fins in Delaware, Maryland, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, California, Illinois, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands; and potentially even bans on the sale of dog and cat meat to humans.
- It would override the authority of states to protect the health and welfare of their citizens, such as Vermont’s ban on BPA in baby food jars and infant food containers, and Maryland’s ban on arsenic in poultry feed. It could nullify state pollution standards, such as those involving use of human sewage on crops.
- It could affect various laws concerning agricultural employment, including even child labor laws.