If this amendment passes, then it renders state laws setting minimum standards of animal protection less effective, as producers from outside the state would still be able to sell, even without complying with such laws. HSUS and other groups have worked in Florida, California and elsewhere to set up minimal protections - including banning gestation crates for farrowing sows etc.
This amendment would mean that even if the gestation crates are illegal in California, pork producers in Idaho (still using those crates) can not be banned from selling in California.
The [House Agriculture Committee] ha[s] adopted a far-reaching amendment that infuriated animal welfare groups, delighted the pork and beef lobbies and broke more than a few eggs. Where it goes next in the context of the larger farm bill debate, no one truly knows. But scores of state laws could be impacted and it surely reaches well beyond its initial target: sunny California.
Most simply the language would bar any state from excluding the marketing of “agricultural products” if they have been grown in a manner “pursuant” to federal law and the laws of the state or locality from which they come.
Proponents argue that this is needed to allow the free flow of farm commerce across state lines. But for animal welfare groups, it’s a huge Catch 22, since the same committee continues to resist any new federal standards for raising livestock — preferring to leave the issue to farmers and individual states.
California is a pivotal battleground because it is both a giant producer and market. In the case of animal agriculture, the state is recognized as a leader in demanding better protection for livestock, especially since a 2008 ballot referendum that required the egg industry to provide more running room for its hens.
But when the California legislature followed up by enacting a law demanding that all eggs sold in the state meet the new standards, it ruffled feathers as far away as Iowa — a major egg exporter. And Iowa Rep. Steve King, now a senior Republican on the Agriculture panel, began beating the drum for Congress to take a stand.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/a ... z2Tc5Rd9Uy