Steve King Shoots Himself in the Meat

Avowed racist Congressman Steve King’s (R-IA) latest move is an amendment to the farm bill aimed at protecting the egg laying industry in his district. King’s district is the largest egg-producing district in the largest egg producing state. And Iowa’s egg laying industry didn’t much care for California passing laws mandating eggs sold in-state meet ethical standards.

Hence King’s Protect Interstate Commerce Act, which was recently added to the much-maligned House Agriculture Committee farm bill, just passed out of committee. Citing the Interstate Commerce Act, King’s bill is designed to “end unconstitutional efforts by some states to regulate the means of production of agricultural goods in other states.”

In defending his legislation, King said, “Iowa’s producers should not be held hostage to the demands of California’s Vegan Lobby.” While former Iowa Agriculture Secretary and current USDA undersecretary Bill Northey once called pushback on the bill, “misinformation from those who want to eliminate animal agriculture.”

Well if King’s intention was to stick to vegans and “those that want to eliminate animal agriculture,” his legislation would have the opposite effect and instead create the unintended consequence of butchering other state’s ability to protect their traditional meat producing sectors.

On April 30th the Missouri House of Representatives passed a motion aimed at the nascent plant-based protein industry that has the traditional meat biz apoplectic over the prospect of plant –based substitutes eating away at their market share. As reported by the New Food Economy:

The unprecedented piece of legislation would specifically prohibit the use of the term “meat” on products that don’t come from animals. And, to be clear, the prohibition applies not just to plant-based products. Other forms of alt-protein, including so-called “clean” meat cultured from animal cells, would also be barred from using the term. According to the bill, meat is only “meat” if it comes from traditionally raised livestock—that is, from live animals specifically farmed for their flesh.

I asked food and farm legal expert Baylen Linnekin if he thought Steve King’s amendment would hurt Missouri’s efforts to protect their meat industry.

This pro-meat Missouri bill may be unconstitutional for the same reasons California’s anti-meat foie gras ban is. Like the California law, the Missouri law would likely place unconstitutional burdens on interstate commerce and may be preempted by current and/or future federal laws, including the proposed Protect Interstate Commerce Act.


About the author

For over fifteen years I’ve investigated and written about America’s worst polluters from the gas fields of North Dakota to the “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve been a Senior Advisor for the Environmental Working Group and a Senior Manager at the Environmental Defense Fund. As a freelance journalist, I’ve written for Politico, the Washington DC City Paper, the Huffington Post, Grist, Civil Eats and the Food and Environment Reporting Network.


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