OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma became the most recent state attempting to overturn Proposition 12, an animal confinement law passed in California.
Mike Hunter, attorney general of Oklahoma, joined a brief in support of a lawsuit filed by the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation against California’s Proposition 12. Fifteen state attorneys general signed the brief which states that Proposition 12 violates the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution by prohibiting the sale of veal, pork or eggs produced from animals not raised in accordance with California’s animal-confinement regulations, regardless of where those animals were raised.
Proposition 12 requires producers of veal calves to house animals with at least 43 square feet of usable floor space per calf by 2020. Additionally, sows will be required by 2022 to be housed in a minimum of 24 square feet of usable space per animal and laying hens must be cage free. NPPC said to comply with Proposition 12 would require pork producers to make significant investments in their operations to be ready by the implementation date.
“The Constitution does not allow California to mandate nationwide policy on how to raise livestock,” Hunter said. “For farmers and ranchers to comply would be a major financial burden for Oklahoma producers that would translate into significantly higher prices at the grocery store. Growing up on a wheat and cattle farm in Garfield County, I understand the extremely difficult conditions our farmers and ranchers already face. Adding more red tape, like California’s Proposition 12, would make this way of life next to impossible. That is why I am pleased to stand with my attorneys general colleagues and Oklahoma agriculture producers against this law.”
NPPC and AFBF filed the lawsuit after a district court judge denied the North American Meat Institute’s request for a preliminary injunction against Proposition 12. NAMI is considering an appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Other states that have signed the brief in support of the lawsuit include Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.