Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the U.S., got a couple of surprises last week. For starters, we released a new report on HSUS’s deceptive fundraisingand sent a copy to 12 state Attorneys General with requests for investigations. (It has since gone to 13 more.) And the night before, as Pacelle sat watching Congress debate the Farm Bill, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) successfully added an amendment that would dampen many HSUS lobbying gains of the past decade.
The amendment (found here), known as the Protecting Interstate Commerce Act, reads: “The government of a state or locality therein shall not impose a standard or condition on the production or manufacture of any agricultural product sold or offered for sale in interstate commerce” if the production 1) occurs in another state and 2) the standards and conditions imposed on the out-of-state producer are greater than is required by the federal government or by the producer’s home state.
What this means for HSUS and California is that AB 1437—a state law with questionable constitutionality—would no longer be valid. AB 1437 takes California’s Proposition 2 requirement for larger cages for egg-laying hens and imposes those same regulations on egg producers in Iowa and other states if they want to sell in the Golden State. If King’s amendment becomes law, that restriction would be no more.
This leaves HSUS with two options. First, it can continue to lobby on farm animal issues at the federal level—which it is already doing with its lobbying on the Hill for an egg bill. Its second option is to use its most effective formula for passing animal-rights law: the emotionally manipulative ballot campaign–but only on a state-by-state basis. When HSUS runs a a ballot initiative it spends millions of dollars to produce propaganda, casting nuances and animal welfare science aside for cheap demagoguery. That’s how a lot of political elections are run these days, and it doesn’t help the country much. But it’s easy for HSUS to message the same thing ad nauseum with a few select sound-bites.
Pacelle, of course, knows this and is making the King amendment seem like it would practically be the end of civilization, alleging that it would get rid of environmental, public health, and labor laws, too.
We know Pacelle isn’t a constitutional attorney (and neither are any of us), but his response to King’s amendment is outrageously uninformed. On his blog, he claims that the amendment would ban Prop 2 and other so-called animal protection laws in other states. According to the Los Angeles Times, Pacelle even said that King’s amendment “could prevent states from enacting laws that would, for example, prevent the sale of food produced by forced labor.” Uh, last we checked, Wayne, the Thirteenth Amendmentis still on the books.
Pacelle told the San Francisco Chronicle that King’s amendment eliminates all state standards. The King amendment does nothing of the sort. California is free to pass laws based on questionable science and emotional appeals, so long as they only restrict California’s own farmers. So Prop 2, as flawed is it may be, will apparently still stand.
And the restriction on California farmers invokes the constitutional quandary that surrounds AB 1437 in the first place. Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) said it was “an awful mistake” for Californians to have approved Prop 2 and that the restrictions make it difficult for California egg farmers to compete with out of state producers who are not subject to the same, costly restrictions. One egg farmer in California said that if AB 1437 is invalidated, “I’m dead. And all the egg producers are in California, too.” According to the Los Angeles Times, Rep. Cardoza said that if “you can put small cages in Nevada, right across the border and our state can’t prohibit it, then that’s a problem for us.”So California wants to tell Nevada what to do, which is unconstitutional. Exactly our point—and Rep. King’s.
If the purpose of passing AB 1437 was to protect California egg farmers from being undercut by out-of-state sellers, then the law would be unconstitutional. The constitutional issue is the “dormant” Commerce Clause which helps to restrict protectionist policies by the states.
California has been stifled on a similar economic restriction before. Afederal judge blocked California’s low-carbon fuel standards from taking effect in January because the law unconstitutionally regulates the activities of out-of-state producers.
States can claim to be protecting the health and safety of their citizens and pass some economic restrictions. A Supreme Court decision in 1960 allowed Detroit to impose greater smoke pollution restrictions on ships that come into port for the sake of the health and safety of residents. But claiming safety is not a catch-all that allows other state economic restrictions. Courts will also consider if the safety concerns are valid. Iowa’s restrictions on the length of tractor trailers, were said to have produced only an “illusory” safety interest. That’s why the text of AB 1437 is built around food safety concerns. But that claim is highly questionable, as we’ve already discussed.
Regardless of the success of King’s amendment, California’s laws on hens are probably unconstitutional. And that will be bad news for the California egg producers who are stuck with them no matter what. The Farm Bill has a lot of complex politics involved, but as the King amendment moves forward we will keep you posted on the details.
“Stuck with them no matter what?” Hmm…interesting question. While we aren’t opposed to larger cages for chickens, the fact is that HSUS is NOT about safety, and has never been about safety. So if California egg farmers lose the Prop 2 fight, they may still be in business but the business will likely cost them more money. If it ends up costing more money then consumers will pay more money. If AB 1437 was challenged (and we don’t think it has been) then that might throw a wrench in HSUS’ Prop 2– maybe. The Farm Bill has not been passed so far, but the PICA addition is definitely in there and we doubt it’s going to be taken out.
We have long stated that nearly all of HSUS laws affect commerce, since if it has to do with animals it usually does affect commerce. HSUS seeks to remove animals from the commerce stream by positioning the animal laws into “commercial” vs “non profit” in case you never noticed. ”Commercial” is the word of choice for HSUS alleged PMs, breeders, abuse of animals, selling and buying of animals and pets, pet stores, you name it. If it’s linked to an animal at all then HSUS throws it into the “commercial” bin and let the denigration begin. The word “factory” is used (factory farm), “profiteering” (making $ off animals) and these buzz words are used daily as propaganda hooks. Always, always, always. Mantra and repeat. These are simplistic methods of indoctrination used by ARs, and they do not deviate. We have to give them one thing, they are a damn dedicated lot of extremists. Indeed.
RADICAL ANTI-FARMER GROUP SPENDS $500K TO DESTROY IOWA REP. STEVE KING
The Humane Society of the United States is spending $500,000 through their legislative offshoot and using deceptive tactics in Iowa to help unseat Republican Congressman Steve King in his election battle with Christine Vilsack.
The HSUS — a radical animal-rights group that opposes hunting and has a long-term agenda that includes eradicating the agriculture industry as we know it — has made the outspoken King their primary political target this campaign season, and the group has launched an ad campaign dubbing the congressman “the King of Cruelty.”
Using puppies and kittens as a false front to gain ground for their radical animal-rights agenda is a common tactic of the group.
As recently reported in The New Republic:
The Humane Society Legislative Fund has spent $500,000 so far this cycle to defeat King in his race against Democrat Christine Vilsack—currently rated a toss-up by Real Clear Politics. That’s half of the Humane Society’s total election budget. After five terms in the House, King is running in a newly gerrymandered district, making this the toughest race of his career.
The Humane Society’s ad campaign, called “Stop the King of Cruelty,” shows images of barbed wire and sad-eyed dogs in cages. It focuses on King’s opposition to pet-related legal protections, such as stronger laws against animal fighting. After years of King’s disdain and ridicule—he calls them “anti-meat liberals”—animal rights groups undoubtedly relish the opportunity to oust him from the House. “Steve King has most extreme record on animal cruelty issues in the entire Congress,” says Michael Markarian, President of the Human Society Legislative Fund.
It’s ironic that Markarian would label anyone as “extreme,” since he has endorsed the tactics of the animals rights terror group Animal Liberation Front. Congressman King is completely correct in his assessment of HSUS as “anti-meat,” although the group’s leadership such as Markarian has shown that their sympathies are more radical than liberal. Rep. King is one of the few politicians who sees the HSUS’s tactics for exactly what they are and has been willing to call them out for it.
HSUS’s campaign against King in Iowa is a prime example of how the group masks their radicalism behind a “puppies and kittens” agenda. Trying to promote a hardcore anti-hunting, radical vegetarian agenda in a Midwestern state like Iowa would normally be a hard sell, so the group doesn’t mention it in their ads against Rep. King. Instead, they roll out the sad-eyed puppies.
The reality is that regulatory agenda that HSUS pushes would have a profound impact on the agricultural industry that is so vital to the district that Republican King and Democrat Vilsack are fighting to represent. One of the recent centerpieces of the HSUS strategy that King opposed was a law passed in California that imposed restrictive new guidelines for chicken raising in the state of California. How does this affect farmers in Iowa? The group added to the law that California could not import eggs from states that did not have that same standard; about 30% of California’s eggs come from Iowa.
King took legislative action on this on both Constitutional and practical ground. He introduced the Protect Interstate Commerce Act (PICA), which passed the Ag Committee to be included in the Farm Bill. In a characteristically clear and outspoken statement,Congressman King said:
By 2014 California will require only “free range” eggs be sold and the impact of their large market would compel producers in every other state to invest billions to meet the California standard of “means of production.” PICA will ensure that radical organizations like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and PETA are prohibited from establishing a patchwork of restrictive state laws aimed at slowly suffocating production agriculture out of existence.
Destroying the agriculture business is a long-term strategic goal of HSUS and the reason they are spending half a million dollars against King. The group’s methods will be familiar to anyone who has seen the film “Occupy Unmasked;” HSUS favors a diversity of tactics approach that combines putting a “professional” face on the political end but embracing radicalism behind the scenes.
Mike Markarian, who was quoted in The New Republic piece earlier, is President of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. In 1997, before he had that position, Markarian wrote a piece for the animal-rights publication The Abolitionist that spells out how this diversity of tactics scheme works.
While the “citizen” activist says “YES” to that which is right, the “rebel” activist says “NO” to that which is wrong. Direct action, civil disobedience, hunt sabotages, and Animal Liberation Front activities all fall under this category. Activists purposely breaking laws that are unjust, such as hunter harassment laws, or committing acts of civil disobedience to help animals, are effective rebels because they tie the movement’s issues together with First Amendment, freedom of speech, and civil liberties issues.
Later in the essay, Markarian makes it very clear that he believes legislative advocates like HSUS and terrorists like ALF all have a valid place.
There are some people who are very good at civil disobedience and jail support. There are some people who love to go into schools and talk to children about animal rights. There are some credible scientists and doctors in our movement who can promote alternatives to dissection, hunting, and meat eating. There are some people who love to meet with their elected officials. Everyone in the movement has a niche, and they should all be embraced, not alienated.
It’s hard to imagine that this sort of radical, militant vegan agenda would play well with the common-sense working people of Iowa. The reason that HSUS and their leftist allies wants Rep. Steve King “put to sleep” is that they know King is on to their game and will aggressively defend both the Constitution and the farmers of Iowa.
// It doesn’t matter that HSUS tries to tweak their story on King. HSUS has spent far too much time and money trying to force USA Agriculture to fit the HSUS mold. The Agriculture and food industry lobby should have FAR more $$$ than HSUS will ever have, and HSUS has ruined plenty of business for most citizens, increased costs, increased unnecessary regulations such as CA law which finds giving away or selling an animal to be “animal abuse” but NOT if a non profit does it? Any group that would make an insane law like that, should not be allowed to create laws, yet people are lazy and just let HSUS do it, figuring they are not involved.
It is when people do not stand up for what is wrong that ARs can steamroll the laws, and in fact they do so. When even the Huffington Post publishes ads against HSUS, we are beginning to see the light of day. HP is notoriously AR, yet even they recognize the HSUS problem. HSUS is not and has never been about saving any animals. HSUS seeks to save animals only from people, owners, and having businesses based on animals, especially if it involves food. HSUS absolutely has followed and does follow the 12 Steps of Animal Rights.