Press Release

Gang of Ten House Conservatives Rebuke EATS Act as Favoritism for China, Urge Ag Committee to Reject it in Farm Bill

Lawmakers say overturning state laws to benefit foreign interests violates conservative principles

Washington, D.C. — In yet one more signal that the EATS Act is viewed as an attack on states’ rights to benefit China’s hold on the American pork industry, 10 conservative Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives today sent a letter to House Agriculture Committee Chairman G.T. Thompson, R-Pa., and Ranking Member David Scott, D.-Ga., urging them to exclude H.R. 4417, the EATS Act, from the upcoming Farm Bill. Led by Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., they argued that the measure would federally override state farm-animal-welfare laws and expand foreign influence in America’s pork industry.

The letter was led by conservative firebrand Luna and co-signed by Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, as well as Reps. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., Nancy Mace, R-S.C., Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., and Tim Burchett, R-Tenn.  Thousands of American, family-owned pork farmers and companies oppose the EATS Act, which would undercut their investments in housing systems that are more humane and comply with voter-approved laws in the United States.

“This latest expression of opposition by lawmakers to the EATS Act underscores that House conservatives have sniffed out EATS as a backdoor maneuver to strengthen China’s grip on American agriculture and to allow that country to import its high-rise factory farms to the United States,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy.  “The EATS Act probably doesn’t have a single Democrat favoring it and, given the conservatives signing the latest anti-EATS Act letter, I doubt it can attract even a simple majority of House Republicans to favor it.”

The EATS Act aims to overturn California’s Proposition 12 and Massachusetts’s Question 3, which require whole pork cuts sold in those states to be sourced from farms where sows are allowed to lie down, stand up, and turn around.  As today’s letter notes, a legal challenge to these state laws was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court in a strongly worded opinion by Justice Neil Gorsuch, a Trump appointee, and joined by fellow conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Amy Coney Barrett. 

Today’s letter follows several previous congressional letters in opposition to the EATS Act, including an October 2023 letter signed by 16 House Republicans from all wings of the party, and two letters sent last August, one signed by 171 House members including five Republicans, and another signed by 30 senators including Republican Susan Collins, R-Me. 

“Recently, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller called out the EATS Act as an attack on states’ rights, and now we see a rising tide of opposition to the measure by the most conservative lawmakers,” said Marty Irby, president of Competitive Markets Action, Inc., and board secretary for the Organization for Competitive Markets.  “The Chinese-controlled Smithfield controls a quarter of U.S. pork production, and the EATS Act gives a lift to its efforts to expand its already enormous footprint on U.S. soil.”

Center for a Humane Economy is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(3) whose mission is to help animals by helping forge a more humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both. The Center believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @TheHumaneCenter

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) whose mission is to help animals by promoting laws and regulations at federal, state and local levels that forbid cruelty to all animals. The group also works to enforce existing anti-cruelty and wildlife protection laws. Animal Wellness Action believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @AWAction_News