The California Proposition 12 (Prop 12) law, which specifies the minimal amount of space that mother pigs, newborn cows, and laying hens must be provided, will shortly be challenged before the US Supreme Court.
Sentient Media reports that the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council are the principal opponents of the measure. Together, the two have appealed to the Supreme Court with their worries about Prop 12’s constitutionality.
The bill was approved in 2018 and is scheduled to go into force in its entirety this year. It impacts food made from animals raised outside of California as well as farm animals in that state.
For instance, Prop 12 prohibits the sale of pork produced outside of California using gestation crates (cages that restrict the movement of pregnant pigs).
The law was opposed by the pork industry ever since it was approved by a 62 percent majority of voters. The “massive” infrastructure modifications that would allegedly be required if producers wish to stay in the Californian market are the source of opposition.
Reaching the Supreme Court
Pork lobby groups have attempted several attempts to overturn Prop 12’s legality, but none of them have been successful to date. Their first sign of hope appeared in March when the US Supreme Court decided to take up their case.
Since then, the Department of Justice has provided assistance to the pork sector. It sent the Supreme Court with a paper that cited a legal provision that would support the pig farmers’ claims that Prop 12 is unjust to them.
According to the document, California is restricting trade by putting an “unreasonable burden” on trade. This is because the state must import the majority of its meat due to the small indigenous pork industry in the state.
Similar legislation to outlaw pig gestation boxes is already in place in certain states, including Arizona, Florida, and Massachusetts. However, the pork industry asserts that none are significant meat producers, similar to California. As a result, hog-farming regions must bear the cost of “expensive” operational adjustments. Iowa, Minnesota, and North Carolina will be the state’s most severely impacted.
Legal experts have been taken aback by the Supreme Court’s decision to examine the complaints of the pork sector. But the Biden administration has consistently backed homegrown large meat.
“The constitution does not guarantee the right to pork producers to have an uninhibited national market,” Kelsey Eberly, a legislative policy fellow at Harvard law school, told the Guardian.
Her remark is in reference to a provision meant to ensure fair competition. However, it does not automatically grant manufacturers the right to do business in every US state.
On the sale of items from foreign countries, US states frequently apply their own regulations. Prop 12 will, however, open the door for the undermining of municipal laws if it is found to be unfair.
Animal rights will regress, according to animal welfare advocacy organizations like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which supported Proposition 12.
For a while now, California has led the way in welfare reform efforts. Important turning points included the 2004 prohibition on the production and sale of foie gras and the 2019 ban on the sale of fur. In 2018, it also approved a cruelty-free cosmetics act. Consequently, California was hailed by Cruelty Free International as a “national leader in compassionate lawmaking.”
Other items are anticipated to follow if pig produced with animal cruelty is allowed to once again be imported into California. The standards for animal welfare could suffer a national setback as a result.
Will Proposition 12 seriously damage the pork industry?
Major pork players genuinely seem unconcerned despite their main defense being the expense of replacing gestation crates.
One of the biggest pig producers in the US, Hormel Foods, stated in a statement that it “faces no risk of material losses from compliance with Proposition 12.” It goes on to say that there will be some additional complexity, but that California is an “important market” for the business. It will therefore allow for new legislation.
Similarly, Tyson Foods assured investors on a call to discuss its 2020 profits that it would be simple to start Prop 12-compliant activities. The second-largest pork processor in the world claimed that it could achieve this in addition to conventional production techniques.
Between December 2022 and June 2023, the Supreme Court will issue an official decision.
Source: “Supreme Court To Hear Arguments Against California’s Ban On Extreme Animal Confinement” by Plant Based News
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