Meat, Egg Producers Warn about Animal-Rights Laws

Sept. 22, 2021
Food processing trade groups are calling for a delay in the implementation of animal welfare statutes in California and elsewhere.

Food processing trade groups are calling for a delay in the implementation of animal welfare statutes in California and elsewhere, saying they’re not ready.

California’s Proposition 12, passed by voters in 2018, requires that hogs and chickens be provided specified minimums of personal space when they’re confined, before their meat or other products can be sold in California. The pork industry is denouncing the provisions for at least 24 sq. ft. for pregnant sows; in Iowa and other states, the usual average is about 14 sq. ft.

The law is due to be implemented starting Jan. 1. The pork industry, and others in the supply chain, are calling for implementation to be delayed, saying that the state agricultural department hadn’t promulgated final regulations for the law.

The North American Meat Institute and the National Pork Producers Council both denounced the situation at a recent hearing and called for delays. “Until final rules issue, affected companies are ‘on hold’ with respect to what they must do to comply with Prop 12 to avoid the risk of criminal prosecution,” a Meat Institute spokesperson said at the hearing.

Egg producers are also calling for delays in the implementation of provisions in California and Massachusetts that will require all eggs sold in those states to be from hens that were not confined to cages.

According to a poll by Watt Global Media, 26% of egg producers surveyed said they anticipate a shortage of eggs from cage-free hens, and almost 44% said they believe the market will face an oversupply of eggs from caged hens.

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