Inclusion of EATS Act in Farm Bill is already opposed by 200+ federal lawmakers
WASHINGTON (September 13, 2023)—Today, a letter signed by more than 150 organizations was released urging Congress to reject including the “Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression” (EATS) Act (S.2019 and H.R. 4417) or “any similar assault on duly-enacted state and local measures” in the 2023 Farm Bill. The Humane Society Legislative Fund led the coalition letter, which was signed onto by groups such as the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, American Public Health Association, Sierra Club, the Child Labor Coalition, Consumer Reports, and County Executives of America.
These groups join FreedomWorks, the National Conference of State Legislatures, National Association of Counties, and National League of Cities, that have separately urged Congress to reject the EATS Act. The National Governors Association included the EATS Act among its Farm Bill priority concerns. Altogether, a diverse set of more than 2,000 entities, including organizations, individuals and more than 1,200 farms across the country, have publicly stated opposition to the EATS Act.
“The message is loud and clear: the EATS Act or anything like it is simply too controversial to be included in the Farm Bill, and we cannot risk allowing this poison pill to derail a package that America’s farmers and consumers depend on getting done in a timely way. That is a major reason we are seeing such fierce opposition to the legislation by lawmakers on Capitol Hill and now an incredibly diverse group of organizations,” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “The Humane Society Legislative Fund is working closely with farmers, producers and advocates across a wide range of concerns to alert federal legislators to the dangerous implications of the EATS Act, and our voices are resonating. States’ rights cannot be voided at the whim of a handful of corporate pork producers.”
The groups that signed onto this most recent letter—which includes organizations representing agriculture, food justice, animal protection, consumer, food safety, public health, environmental, labor, legal and local government/preemption interests—stressed that the EATS Act could gut state authority, potentially bankrupt state and local governments, result in endless litigation, undermine founding principles and constitutional law precedent, and hurt farmers and rural communities.
More than 200 federal lawmakers—including 30 Senators through a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee leadership and 172 Representatives in a letter to House Agriculture Committee leaders—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.
On August 21, the Humane Society Legislative Fund launched a national TV advertising campaign highlighting opposition by American farmers to the EATS Act. 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 broad scope of the EATS Act 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 X, formerly known as Twitter, at @HSLegFund.