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A perverse twist on agbiz cruelty 

LowDown

Baby chicks, goats and other farm animals can be awfully cute and cuddly!

Today's industrial agribusiness operations, however, see these animals as nothing but profit machines to be locked in tiny cages for life, fed pellets and antibiotics, allowed no connection to their natural world, and then slaughtered (often brutally).

Seeing such ugliness has prompted Rep. Steve King of Iowa to step forward. Passionate about agricultural cruelty, he got his GOP colleagues in the House to pass his amendment to stop it.

Sadly, though, King's passion has a perverse twist to it: The cruelty that stirs him to action are state laws that he claims are "slowly suffocating production agriculture out of existence." Yes, he wants the federal government to stop states and cities from passing laws that restrict animal cruelty by corporate ag biz!

No more requirements that chicken cages provide enough room for the birds to stand up, he cries.

No more laws outlawing the sale of horse and dog meat, the forced feeding of ducks, or the existence of puppy mills.

And no more consumer laws requiring that genetically manipulated foods be labeled.

Oh, by the way, King also thinks dogfighting is a fine "sport" — so fine that even children should be allowed to watch. Cuddly animals are nice enough for kids, but there's more excitement (and money) in watching animals fight to the death.

Speaking of killing, King hopes that his amendment, dubbed the Animal Torture Protection Act, will do just that to such busybody groups as the Humane Society and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

His bloodlust aside, isn't it also a bit perverse that a "conservative" Congress critter wants Big Government to overrule local authority?

But King has never been one to let consistency interfere with doing corporate favors.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.

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