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Missouri farm group opposes EATS Act
Missouri Ag Connection - 09/25/2023

A Missouri farm group is opposing a federal bill that would override California's animal welfare law, arguing that it would have unintended consequences.

The Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act, introduced by U.S. Reps. Ashley Hinson and Zach Nunn of Iowa, would prohibit state and local governments from interfering with the production or manufacture of agriculture products in other states.

The Missouri Rural Crisis Center says the EATS Act would undermine local control and the ability of locally elected representatives to create protections at the local, state, and county levels.

"We've been opposed to the EATS Act for almost a decade," said Tim Gibbons, communications director for the Missouri Rural Crisis Center. "The main reason we're opposed is because of its impact on local control."

The Iowa Republicans who introduced the EATS Act say it reiterates the Constitution's Commerce Clause, which gives the federal government the duty to regulate interstate commerce and prohibit state and local governments from interfering with the production or manufacturing of agricultural products.

Missouri Representative Ashley Hinson said in a statement that farmers in her state take great care of their animals and ensure that families have safe, affordable, and high-quality food to eat. She said she is proud to lead the EATS Act to fight against California's "bacon ban," ensure that farmers can continue to feed the nation and protect interstate commerce.

California produces only 1% of the nation's pork, but it consumes 15%. Nearly a third of all the nation's hogs are raised in Iowa, which is the top producer of pork in the nation.

Gibbons said his organization serves the needs of the independent family farm alongside multinational companies operating most of the state's hog farms.

"They've got a loud voice because they've got billions and billions of dollars and farmers out here don't have that loud of a voice," Gibbons said. "But there's a lot of us. There are a lot of people supporting independent family farmers in our state and in our country. I don't want the narrative to be shaped by the very corporations developing the narrative. I think it needs to be shaped based on truth and what's really going on."

It remains to be seen whether the EATS Act will gain traction in Congress. However, the opposition from farm groups like the Missouri Rural Crisis Center highlights the potential unintended consequences of such legislation.

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