|Puppy mill puppies sold at Petland with AKC endorsement.|
The House is moving to take up legislation that would reauthorize spending on agricultural and nutritional programs. As it did during the last farm bill debate in 2013, the House included an amendment in the bill from GOP Rep. Steve King (Iowa) that would prevent states from creating laws that would regulate “agriculture products” manufactured or offered for sale in other states.
Among other things, that amendment would essentially preempt state and local laws already enacted that aim to prevent puppy mills from selling sick or abused dogs.
The Humane Society and other animal protection organizations, including the Animal Welfare Institute, are mobilizing to keep the King amendment out of the final package, which will have to be agreed upon by the House and Senate.
“We certainly are horrified about what [the] King [amendment] would mean for so many things, so we’re working hard to not having it lined up at the end of the process,” said Nancy Blaney, the director of government affairs at the Animal Welfare Institute.
King’s amendment didn’t make it into the final farm bill in 2013, and the legislation being worked on by the Senate now is likely to be vastly different from what the lower chamber is considering.
The Steve King pro-puppy mill bill is being pushed by Petco, Petland, and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), all new clients of the lobbying firm Federal Advocates. PetSmart is also a lobbying client of Federal Advocates, but it is not clear if they support the King bill.
Petland has a special relationship with the American Kennel Club, as I have reported in the past.
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council is being run by Ed SayreS, a former head of the ASPCA which paid millions of dollars to settled a RICO racketeering law suit involving their direct mail mill operation.
The US Department of Agriculture is the federal agency responsible for regulating commercial breeding operations on the federal level through the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, but they are poorly funded and are incompetent at their job.
Steve King is perhaps the most extreme member of the US House of Representatives and he has, in the past, advocated for laws to green-light dog fighting and selling dog and cat meat.