Iowa congressman explains dog-fighting remark

U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is feeling the heat from animal welfare advocates after comments he made during his “tele-townhall” Monday night.

When asked about his stance on animal rights, King responded by suggesting that dog fighting is akin to humans fighting for sport.

“When the legislation that passed in the farm bill says that 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,” the Congressman said (see video below).

He went on to criticize the work of animal advocacy groups who devote their efforts to ending the cruel sport of dog fighting, saying that there is “something wrong with Wayne Pacelle and the Humane Society of the United States way of thinking like that.”

Representative King recently voted against an amendment to a piece of farming legislation that would make it a crime to attend an animal fight — or to bring children to an animal fight. He also introduced legislation that would lower the standards of care for farm animals.

And as the HSUS points out, in 2007, King was one of few who opposed H.R. 137, which made the transportation of animals or fighting materials across state lines a felony.

“There’s no federal lawmaker who has worked harder to thwart the enactment of anti-dogfighting legislation than Steve King,” the HSUS writes.

Critics of King’s controversial views against animal rights have taken to the Iowa Congressman’s Facebook page, denouncing King’s remarks. After King posted a photo of his own family dogs — Labrador Retrievers Coach, Kimber, and Roz — commenters hit back with some strong responses.

“If you are in favor of dog fighting, why not take those three sweet dogs of YOURS and put them in the ring? Or is it only OK to allow OTHER dogs to be tortured?” one post reads.

Members of a new Facebook group calling themselves “Dogs Against Congressman Steve King” have started an online petition aimed at King’s anti-animal rights comments and policies. The petition has earned nearly 2,500 signatures so far and is growing by the minute.

The Ames Patch is reporting that the CREDO Super PAC and a group called “Paws Against King” will be staging a protest outside of the Congressman’s campaign office at 711 E. Lincoln Way in Ames, Iowa Thursday morning at 11:00 a.m.

King has since insisted that what he said at the “tele-townhall” has been blown out of proportion, and has since taken to YouTube to clarify his views.

“We need to respect humans more than we do animals,” King states in the video. “Whenever we start elevating animals up to above that of humans, we’ve crossed a moral line.”

He ends his clarification video by poking fun at the idea of animal fighting, joking that he breaks up dog fights in his home between his dogs: “They do jump in and they do get into a tussle with each other once in awhile, and you have to jump in there and break it up,” King says with a grin.

Sources:, The Humane Society of the United States