Last week the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation jointly filed their opening brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, asking the court to strike California's Proposition 12 as invalid. Proposition 12 imposes arbitrary animal housing standards that reach outside of California's borders to farms across the United States. By attempting to regulate businesses outside of its borders, the organizations say California's Proposition 12 violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, Proposition 12 prohibits the sale of pork not produced according to California's highly prescriptive production standards. The proposition applies to any uncooked pork sold in the state, whether raised there or outside its borders.
Proposition 12 "imposes an enormous and costly burden on interstate commercial transactions, requiring wholesale rebuilding of tens of thousands of sow farm facilities and massive operational changes in how farmers care for their sows," explained the filing. Additionally, "it achieves no consumer-health benefit at all—though that was touted to voters as one of its goals—and far exceeds any right of California to determine what its own citizens eat by regulating as a practical matter how pork is produced nationwide."
Currently, less than 1% of U.S. pork production meets Proposition 12's requirements. To comply with Proposition 12, U.S. hog farmers need to start making investment decisions today to be ready by the implementation date.
To read the full opening brief, click here.