EATS Act could undermine states’ rights and become poison pill to the Farm Bill
WASHINGTON (August 29, 2023)— Today, 30 U.S. Senators announced their opposition to inclusion in the 2023 Farm Bill of the “Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression” (EATS) Act (S.2019) or any related legislation in a letter sent to Senate Agriculture Committee leadership. This comes a week after 172 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed onto a similar letter addressed to House Agriculture Committee leaders opposing inclusion of the EATS Act (H.R. 4417).
“It’s not one state that’s trying to foist its standards on the rest of the country,” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “It’s the pork industry’s trade association that’s trying to force every state to accept the terms of any other state that chooses not to ensure standards for agricultural products related to humane treatment, food safety, environmental protection or child labor within its borders. It’s a race-to-the-bottom approach that would destroy the federalism on which our nation was founded and the long-standing power of states to regulate the sale of products within their own borders. We are so grateful to Senators Feinstein, Padilla, and Booker for leading this letter that demonstrates how very controversial the EATS Act is and the imperative to keep anything like it out of the Farm Bill.”
In total, more than 200 federal lawmakers spanning 35 states have now publicly stated that neither the EATS Act nor anything like it should be part of the upcoming Farm Bill, a sweeping legislative package directing agricultural priorities for the next five years. The current Farm Bill expires at the end of September and Congress must pass a new bill to continue setting policies and direction for critical agriculture programs.
In addition, 577 veterinary professionals and 78 veterinary students signed letters opposing the EATS Act, as it could unravel animal welfare and public health standards across the country. The list of diverse opponents of EATS Act is growing every day.
On August 21, the Humane Society Legislative Fund launched a TV advertising campaign highlighting opposition by American farmers to the EATS Act. The ad features a hog farmer in Michigan and initially aired in media markets in Arizona, California, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Virginia before airing nationwide. Many farms, small and large, already comply with the state standards the EATS Act was designed to undermine. Some of America’s largest pork producers such as Niman Ranch and the Clemens Food Group have publicly stated that they do not support the EATS Act.
A recent China Weekly report touts the benefits of the EATS Act for large multinational corporations and how it could “greatly increase China’s share of the U.S. pork market,” enhancing the country’s ability to out-compete smaller American farms.
The EATS Act could wipe out many states’ agriculture laws. The broad scope of the legislation places many state laws at risk, including those impacting food quality and safety that keep consumers safe, infectious disease containment, kosher and halal labeling standards, and the prevention of invasive pests that threaten crops. A report published by Harvard Law School in July provided a snapshot of over 1,000 state and local laws that could be negated if the EATS Act becomes law.
Kate Sarna: 202-836-1265, email@example.com
The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. Visit us on all our channels: on the web at hslf.org, on our blog at hslf.org/blog, on Facebook at facebook.com/humanelegislation and on Twitter at twitter.com/HSLegFund.