Pennsylvania pork producer challenges controversial agriculture legislation in Congress

Pennsylvania pork producer challenges controversial agriculture legislation in Congress

The proposed federal legislation could unravel over 1,000 state laws throughout the country

WASHINGTON (November 9, 2023)—Today, the Humane Society Legislative Fund launched an advertising campaign highlighting farmers’ opposition to the “Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression” (EATS) Act (H.R. 4417 and S. 2019), which was introduced in both chambers of Congress this summer. The campaign features Brent Hershey, owner and president of Hershey Ag, from Mount Joy, Pennsylvania.

The EATS Act could wipe out many of states’ agriculture laws. The broad scope of the legislation places many state laws at-risk including those impacting food quality and safety, infectious disease containment, kosher and halal labeling standards, and the prevention of invasive pests. A report published by the Harvard Law School in July highlighted over 1,000 state laws that could be eliminated if the EATS Act becomes law.

“When it comes to agriculture, Pennsylvania farmers know better than Congress,” said Hershey. “The EATS Act represents a heavy-handed effort to maintain outdated methods that ignore innovation in Pennsylvania’s agricultural sector—something Congress has no place supporting.”

The campaign features two 30 second cuts, along with an extended version:

Farms and producers of all sizes already comply with the standards the EATS Act was designed to undermine. Some of America’s well-known pork producers such as the Clemens Food Group and Niman Ranch have publicly stated that they do not support the EATS Act.

“When you look at a mother pig living in a gestation crate, you’re looking at a relic—an inhumane housing system which forces the pig to live in an area barely bigger than the animals’ body and unable to turn around,” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “The EATS Act is a blatant attack on states’ rights which could eliminate state laws safeguarding farms, food, people and animals within their borders and potentially undermine crucial public safety measures across the country. EATS, or anything like it, would only serve as a poison pill for the Farm Bill or any year-end package Congress may consider.”

The Farm Bill, a sweeping legislative package directing federal agricultural policies and priorities for the next five years, is a key piece of legislation under consideration by the U.S. Congress. The current Farm Bill expired at the end of September, and Congress must pass a new bill as soon as possible to continue funding critical agriculture programs. And Congress is currently considering legislation to provide short-term funding for the federal government which should not be used to cater to a few special interests in the pork industry.

More than 200 federal lawmakers—including 30 Senators through a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee leadership and 172 Representatives spanning 35 states in a letter to House Agriculture Committee leaders—have now publicly stated that neither the EATS Act nor anything like it should be part of the upcoming Farm Bill. In addition, 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.

Media contact:     
Kate Sarna: 202-836-1265; 


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, on our blog at, on Facebook at and on X, formerly known as Twitter at @HSLegFund.

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