Just how much can a state do to regulate production of food? For now, states can impose specific standards on producers in a number of areas. For example, there's an effort underway in California to change how poultry are raise, but an amendment in the House version of the Farm Bill would limit a state's ability to regulate food production, and animal rights groups are opposed.
In a recent Time magazine blog, author Nicole Greenstein, points out that the Humane Society of the United States is putting pressure on Congress to avoid the King Amendment. The provision from Iowa Congressman Steve King, R-Iowa, would challenge state animal protection laws, she writes.
The amendment is in opposition to California Proposition 2 which would require the state's egg-laying hens to be housed in larger cages. The amendment aims to end that by preventing states from applying their own standards to ag products made in other states. The amendment would define an ag product broadly, Greenstein notes. She explains that the term encompasses "a wide swath of products such as livestock, poultry, dairy and plants, and 'any and all products raised or produced on farms and any processed or manufactured product thereof.'"
About 200 members of the House and Senate have signed letters opposing the amendment, but HSUS is saying that if the amendment goes through the entire farm bill could collapse. Right now most opposition to any move on the House farm bill is focused on the nutrition title, which is being considered separately. Whether the nutrition-free House farm bill will clear conference committee remains to be seen.