- Sixteen Republican House Members have sent a letter urging the House Committee on Agriculture to omit the EATS Act from the Farm Bill.
- The EATS Act aims to overturn state laws like Proposition 12 in California and Question 3 in Massachusetts, which mandate humane conditions for pork production.
- The letter follows previous opposition from 171 House members and 30 Senators, as well as various state and local organizations.
- Nearly 40% of U.S. breeding sows are already in group housing systems, reducing the need for gestation crates.
- The lawmakers argue that the EATS Act would benefit foreign-owned pork industry conglomerates at the expense of American farmers and state-level regulations.
In a recent development, 16 Republican House Members have sent a letter to the House Committee on Agriculture leaders, urging them to keep the EATS Act out of the Farm Bill. Reps led the letter. Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.), David Valadao (R-Calif.), Mike Waltz (R-Fla.), and Nancy Mace (R-S.C.).
Opposition to EATS Act
The EATS Act aims to overturn key statewide elections that benefit specific pork industry conglomerates, particularly foreign-owned ones like Smithfield. The primary targets of the EATS Act are Proposition 12 in California and Question 3 in Massachusetts. These laws stipulate that pork sold in these states must come from farms that do not severely confine sows in gestation crates.
This letter comes after 171 House members (166 Democrats and 5 Republicans) and 30 Senators (29 Democrats and 1 Republican) sent letters opposing the EATS Act. Various state and local organizations, including the National Governors Association and the League of Cities, have also expressed their opposition.
Current State of Pork Production
According to a recent report, nearly 40% of U.S. breeding sows are already in group housing systems rather than gestation crates. The industry has been expanding gestation-crate-free production since Florida banned the use of such crates in 2002.
Concerns Raised by Lawmakers
The Republican lawmakers argue that the EATS Act would provide foreign owners of U.S. factory farms with a mechanism to bypass state-level laws. They emphasize that American farmers are adaptable and innovative and do not need federal intervention that picks winners and losers.