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July 25, 2013

Steve King on Mules – and Pigs and Puppies

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, is again in the news for embarrassing, offensive statements – this time for his rants about immigrants and immigration policy. He told an Iowa radio show host that undocumented immigrant children are often drug mules who carry illegal substances across the border, and “they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

For these comments, he’s been condemned by just about every sane mind in the immigration debate – from Latino leaders, to House Democrats to House Speaker John Boehner, who called his comments “deeply offensive and wrong,” and stated that, “there is no place in this debate for hateful or ignorant comments from elected officials.” But this didn’t stop King from repeating his remarks today on the House floor.

For us at The HSUS, it’s more nonsense from a guy who is at least as extreme on animal welfare as he is on immigration and a range of other topics.

King Amendment could nullify many animal welfare laws
Matt Prescott/The HSUS

Last year King said that there was something wrong with passing legislation to keep children away from animal fights when "it’s not a federal crime to induce somebody to watch people fighting.” He added, “there’s something wrong with the priorities of people that [sic] think like that. There’s something wrong with Wayne Pacelle and the Humane Society of the United States' way of thinking like that.”

Fortunately, the vast majority of the House disagrees with King on animal fighting and wants to crack down on it. 

Unfortunately, there have been times when King’s crazy ideas gain some measure of traction in the House, perhaps because not enough people are paying attention to the substance. Maybe they’ll pay attention now and realize what a threat he is to the body politic.

The House Farm Bill contains a provision authored by King that could nullify a wide range of measures relating to animal welfare – like farm animal confinement, horse slaughter, puppy mills and shark finning – as well as food safety, labeling, environmental requirements, labor standards and other issues. The King Amendment seeks to create a blanket federal preemption of state and local standards regarding agriculture production. The provisions of the King Amendment are at odds with core Republican Party values, like respecting states’ rights and promoting local government.

In one fell swoop, King’s amendment could negate Proposition 2 in California, Prop 204 in Arizona, Amendment 10 in Florida (outlawing pig gestation crates), eight state laws against shark finning, 34 state laws and sets of rules on puppy mills, six state laws on horse slaughter, and countless other duly-enacted laws across the country.

It is time to create a ruckus, and demand that the House and Senate reject the ideas and legislative fantasies of this crank. Contact your two U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative and urge them to oppose the King amendment and keep it out of the final Farm Bill package.

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