During a townhall event shown on Livestream last week, Rep. Steve King (R) of Iowa expressed his opposition to an amendment that would make attending animal fights a crime in that state, with additional penalties for bringing children.
“It’s a federal crime to watch animals fight or to induce someone else to watch an animal fight – but it’s not a federal crime to induce somebody to watch people fighting? There’s something wrong with the priorities of people that think like that,” King said in a video of the event posted yesterday.
“There’s something wrong with Wayne Pacelle and the Humane Society of the United States’ way of thinking like that,” he added.
In a rebuttal to King’s statement, Scott Keyes pointed out on thinkprogress.org, “Of course, there is a very good reason we ban dogfighting and other similar forms of cruelty: animals don’t have a choice in the matter. Manny Pacquiao chooses to step into the ring. Michael Vick’s dogs did not. Similarly, when a human boxer loses a fight, he is not ritually executed after the fight. The same is not always true in dogfighting.”
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has called King “arguably the leading anti-animal welfare person in the Congress.” King is the only federal lawmaker in Iowa who supports dogfighting and the right of people to bring children to them.
He previously voted against the Animal Fighting Enforcement Prohibition Act, which made it a felony to transport animals across state lines for dogfighting and cockfighting. The act became law in 2007.
King has fought many other animal welfare laws. After Hurricane Katrina, he opposed legislation that would require authorities to consider the needs of people with pets and service animals in their disaster planning. The bill was passed into law in 2006.
“It’s wrong to rate animals above human beings,” he said at last week’s townhall meeting.
King is currently running for re-election against Democrat Christie Vilsack. On Monday, the Des Moines Register reported that the Iowa Democratic Party has requested the Office of Congressional Ethics to look into whether King violated an ethics code by politically attacking Vilsack during the townhall event.
PHOTO: Gage Skidmore