Seriously? Iowa Congressman Defends the Right to Watch Dogfighting?

U.S. Rep. Steve King blames "leftist organizations" for spreading lies about him. We'd like to believe that, but his remarks sound pretty clear in any context.


U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, is getting ripped to shreds by dog lovers around the globe for a recent statement giving every impression that he supports the right to watch dogfighting, and therefore, by everyday logic, dogfighting itself.

King recently went to bat against a farm bill that prohibits attendance at dogfights. The bill also adds stiff penalties for bringing children to dogfights. During a town hall video session, someone asked about his opposition to animal rights legislation. King replied, “It’s wrong to rate animals above human beings.”

He said he doesn’t understand how society is fine with letting people formally fight each other, but is utterly opposed to dogfighting. In his exact words: “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.”

Here he is, if you want to hear him for yourself.

The attacks against him are coming full force via Twitter (@SteveKingIA), on his Facebook page, and comments on stories about his statement. There’s even a petition on the controversy.

But King says whoa, hold your horses: He doesn’t condone dogfighting. It’s meat-eating he wants to protect. He claims his words were taken out of context by “leftist organizations.” According to one of King’s representatives, who wrote on his Facebook page:

“leftist organizations intent on spreading lies recently took video out of context from a Livestream Townhall and added a misleading and false title. Congressman King fully understands the horrible nature of dogfighting and in no way condones it. He was simply making a comparison that Think Progress and others have decided to cut from the video to spread lies -– something they do on a daily basis.

The statement quoted King as saying that “The Humane Society of the United States has long attacked me with outright lies because I have exposed and opposed their anti-meat agenda. They are now using surrogates to perpetuate lies about dogfighting to advance their political agenda to take meat off of our tables. The reason for their hyperventilation is the amendment I added to the farm bill that effectively blocks their nationwide anti-meat agenda.”

Think Progress, a liberal political site that ran one of the first stories about his statement, begs to differ:

“Unfortunately, King is a longtime advocate for legalizing dogfighting, cockfighting, and other forms of animal torture. Most recently, he fought legislation that would make it illegal to bring a child to an animal fight. He has also set aside his love for states’ rights in order to forbid localities from enacting anti-animal torture standards.”

B-b-but the guy has pet dogs! Good-looking dogs with nary a scratch on them. How could anyone who knows the love of a dog really support dogfighting? Check out this photo of King’s daughter with the three family dogs. We found it on his Facebook page, complete with more than 600 comments under the photo skewering him for his dogfighting statement.

Could this guy really be pro-dogfighting in this day and age? There are plenty of dogfighters out there, alas. But it’s political suicide to say anything remotely supporting the blood sport.

Or is King just one of the most misunderstood politicians of the year? Could that quote, if it were taken out of context, somehow completely misrepresent his stand on dogfighting? We’d appreciate any comments from people in the know. Iowa residents? Political observers from any party? Humane rights leaders? Rep. King? Please leave a comment. And everyone else: What do you think?

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