U.S. Takes Producers’ Side in California Pork Fight

June 21, 2022
The Biden administration has weighed in on the side of pork producers who want California’s Proposition 12 overturned.

The Biden administration has weighed in on the side of pork producers who want California’s Proposition 12 overturned.

Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar filed an amicus brief on June 17 in support of plaintiffs who are trying to overturn the California law. Prop 12, passed by voters in 2018, mandates that all pork sold in the state, regardless of where it originates, conform to humane standards regarding confinement for pregnant sows and other conditions.

The law was challenged in federal court by industry groups including the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation. An appeals court dismissed the lawsuit, and plaintiffs are appealing to the Supreme Court.

Among other arguments, the plaintiffs claim that California can’t impose animal-welfare standards on other states. Prelogar’s brief echoes that argument, referencing a 1935 Supreme Court case that held that California “‘has no legitimate interest in protecting’ the welfare of animals located outside the state.”

Prop 12 went into effect on Jan. 1. Food groups are warning that it will lead to a shortage of pork products in California, which produces only 1% of the pork that it consumes.

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