Congressman Steve King’s history of opposing animal legislation

Congressman Steve King’s history of opposing animal legislation

Congressman Steve King’s comments regarding dogfighting have outraged pet lovers and animal supporters everywhere. Thousands have rallied together to show their disapproval of his fight in Congress to block legislation to crack down on the dogfighting and cockfighting. His most recent opposition came during consideration of the 2012 Farm bill where he led an unsuccessful effort to defeat an amendment to make it a federal crime for an adult to attend and make it a felony to bring a minor to a dogfight or cockfight.

This isn’t the Congressman’s first attempt to stop legislation about animal rights:


  • Voted against an amendment that would ban the National Park Service and Forest Service from using federal funds to kill Yellowstone bison. (H.R. 4568)
  • Voted against an amendment to prohibit the use of funds for bear baiting on federal lands. (H.R. 2691)


  • Voted against a bill to ban the transport, possession, purchase, or sale of horses to be slaughtered for human consumption. (H.R. 503)
  • Voted for an amendment to delay implementation of the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (Amendment to H.R. 503)
  • Voted against an amendment to prohibit the Bureau of Land Management from using tax dollars for the sale and slaughter of wild horses and burros. (H.R. 2361)

Highlight of 2006: Voted against a bill to require state and local authorities to consider the needs of people with pets and service animals in their disaster planning. (P.L. 109-308) (this vote came in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina; The vote passed 349 to 24 and President George W. Bush signed it into law later in 2006.)


  • Voted against the Animal Fighting Enforcement Prohibition Act, which strengthened the penalties for illegal dogfighting and cockfighting, making it a felony to transport animals across state lines for these gruesome and barbaric fights. (H.R. 137)
  • Voted against a bill to restore the prohibition on the commercial sale and slaughter of wild horses and burros. (H.R. 249)
  • Voted against an amendment to bar federal funding that permits the import of sport-hunted polar bear trophies from Canada. (H.R. 2643)
  • Voted against a bill to assist conservation programs that protect rare dog and cat species outside North America and Europe. (H.R. 1464)
  • Voted against a bill to provide assistance to conservation programs aimed at helping imperiled crane populations in the U.S. and around the world. (H.R. 1771)
  • Voted against a bill to prohibit interstate and foreign commerce in primates for the pet trade. (H.R. 2964)


  • Voted against an amendment to save millions of taxpayer dollars by ending subsidies for lethal predator control for ranchers. (H.AMDT.471/H.R. 2112)
  • Voted against an amendment to remove a devastating rider that would prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from protecting any new species or designating critical habitat for currently listed species. (H.R. 2584)

Highlight of 2012: Voted against McGovern amendment to the Farm bill to make it a crime to attend a dogfight or cockfight or to bring a child to an animal fighting venture. That amendment was approved by the House Agriculture Committee.

Also in July of this year Congressman Steve King successfully proposed the ‘Protect Interstate Commerce Act’ to the House Committee on Agriculture-an amendment to the farm bill that would  prevent states from regulating how agricultural goods are produced, effectively prohibiting California from enforcing its animal housing restrictions [embodied in Proposition 2, passed by voters in 2008.]  Congressman King’s Protect Interstate Commerce Act as it is worded, would essentially nullify all state-enacted anti-cruelty measures by preventing states from dictating how agricultural products are produced in other states for sale in their own state, such as:

  • Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Washington laws requiring labeling of farm-raised fish
  • Maryland’s ban on arsenic in poultry feed
  • State pollution standards, such as bans on spraying sewage on crops directly before they are fed to people
  • Bans on use of dangerous pesticides on crops, such as California’s ban on methyl iodide use for strawberries;
  • Iowa’s requirement for labeling of artificial sweeteners in products.

In his attempt yesterday at clarifying his statement regarding dogfighting, Congressman Steve King said ”It’s wrong to rate animals above human beings”… but by putting laws and punishments in place for those who do abuse animals- you discourage the activity, protect citizens, and help protect communities against what these people bring to them.

People who treat animals in this manner also bring a mess of other violent activities and behaviors to the table:

  • 71% of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control victims; 32% reported their children had hurt or killed animals.
  • 68% of battered women reported violence towards their animals. 87% of these incidents occurred in the presence of the women, and 75% in the presence of the children, to psychologically control and coerce them.
  • 13% of intentional animal abuse cases involve domestic violence.
  • Between 25% and 40% of battered women are unable to escape abusive situations because they worry about what will happen to their pets or livestock should they leave.
  • Pets may suffer unexplained injuries, health problems, permanent disabilities at the hands of abusers, or disappear from home.
  • Abusers kill, harm, or threaten children’s pets to coerce them into sexual abuse or to force them to remain silent about abuse.
  • Disturbed children kill or harm animals to emulate their parents’ conduct, to prevent the abuser from killing the pet, or to take out their aggressions on another victim.
  • In one study, 70% of animal abusers also had records for other crimes. Domestic violence victims whose animals were abused saw the animal cruelty as one more violent episode in a long history of indiscriminate violence aimed at them and their vulnerability.
  • Investigation of animal abuse is often the first point of social services intervention for a family in trouble.
  • For many battered women, pets are sources of comfort providing strong emotional support: 98% of Americans consider pets to be companions or members of the family.(For references, please see
Animal cruelty problems are people problems; when animals are abused, people are at risk. People who engage in and attend or monetarily support dogfighting abuse animals, and more often than not that violent behavior escalates to the point where people are abusing other people. So by making laws that protect animals, you do protect people.
“He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.”-Immanuel Kant

This report was released by The Humane Society of the United States, and the rest of King’s voting record can be found here.
Steve King direct quotes courtesy The Daily Caller/Yahoo! News.

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