WASHINGTON (AP) - The future of state laws that regulate everything from the size of a hen's cage to safe consumption of Gulf oysters may be at stake as farm bill negotiators work to resolve a long-simmering fight between agriculture and animal welfare interests.
The House Agriculture Committee added language to its version of the farm bill that says a state cannot impose certain production standards on agricultural products sold in interstate commerce. The provision authored by Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa is aimed at a California law that will require all eggs sold in the state to come from hens that inhabit cages in which they can spread their wings.
Opponents say that depending on how it is interpreted, the provision could lead to challenges of dozens of other state laws.
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