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Compassion in World Farming responds to latest Farm Bill developments

Press Release Section Icon 5/22/2024

On Thursday, the House Agricultural Committee will be meeting to discuss the House version of the Farm Bill. We urge the Committee membership to vote against any version that includes language from the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act, or anything EATS-like. If passed, the bill would overturn popularly enacted state policies and reshape state autonomy over agricultural production.  
"The timing of the House Agriculture Committee Chair's fierce opposition to Prop 12 could not be more ironic. The Farm Bill is eight months late and avian influenza is tearing through poultry houses, wild animal populations, and now dairy herds. In times like these, the role of local and state governments is crucial in implementing sensible regulations and protections for farmers and public health.
"Chairman Thompson and other members of Congress are pushing forward with a draft that is unlikely to succeed. Taking power away from states through the EATS Act language and transferring it to our chaotic federal government is undemocratic and sets a dangerous precedent. The policy is unfair for animals, state governments, citizens, and farmers.” - Alex Cragun, Head of Campaigns, Compassion in World Farming USA 
Avian influenza is spiraling out of control. The disease has already led to the culling of 90 million poultry birds in the U.S. and has infected and killed thousands of wild birds and mammals. From seabirds in the Antarctic to polar bears in the Arctic, the virus has spread from pole to pole. It is widely accepted scientific knowledge that intensive farms where animals are crowded and stressed provide conditions that increase the risk of new viruses emerging and mutating.
Chickens, pigs, and humans share influenza receptors, making them prime mixing vessels for new strains, especially when the three species are in close contact. Fighting measures to reduce the stress and overcrowding of the animals, particularly pigs, during this critical period is reckless. 
“Prop 12 has already been in full effect for almost five months, and the sky hasn't fallen. Clearly, Prop 12 compliance is not an impediment to the industry or consumers. Pork company Clemens—headquartered in Chairman Thompson's own state—invested $1 billion in Prop 12 compliance and subsequently doubled its market share.
"According to the USDA's own data, Prop 12 compliant pork has only cost about five cents more per pound since they started reporting late last year, and it has even decreased the price of pork in other states. Backtracking on Prop 12 and Question 3 would hurt businesses that have already invested and benefitted from these laws. These laws were meant to help smaller farmers break through the market consolidation, and it’s working. The next Farm Bill should embrace these opportunities, not take them away." - Allie Molinaro, Campaigns Manager, Compassion in World Farming USA 
Small American farms are disappearing, with 25% of U.S. hog farms lost in the last 20 years and a few industrial companies now dominating beef and pork processing. Instead of catering to some corporations, Chairman Thompson's Farm Bill should support local food systems, small and BIPOC farmers, and anti-trust enforcement. Animals, consumers, and farmers deserve better. 

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