After surviving several years of challenges, Proposition 12 went into effect in California on Jan. 1, although it has implications for all the states, indeed the entire world. The new law requires that all pork, eggs and veal sold in the state – regardless of where they come from – must be from farm animals raised under more humane housing conditions, primarily room for the animals to move around.
While the Supreme Court upheld California’s right to regulate sales in its state, U.S. Senate Bill 2019, the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act, is pending in Congress. That would override any state’s right to impose standards on agricultural products sold in interstate commerce. The challenges should be worked out through the course of the year.
Even if this were limited to California, the impact on meat processors across the country is significant. California accounts for 15% of the nation’s pork and 12% of the egg and veal consumption.
And the Golden State is not alone. Currently, at least 15 states have passed policies on farm animal welfare, according to The Acheson Group (TAG), although they apply only to animals raised within those states. By 2026, hog gestation crates will be banned in 10 states, which is expected to equate to 17% of U.S. pork producer operations.
It’s also not just a U.S. situation. Three Canadian Codes of Practice, involving veal cattle, pullets/laying hens and bison, are in the midst of five-year reviews and the Canadian pig code of 2014 comes into effect this July 1, according to TAG. Countries in Europe and elsewhere are considering similar regulations.