WASHINGTON – The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) recently filed an opening brief at the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to strike California’s Proposition 12 as invalid. 

Proposition 12 requires veal calf producers 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. 

“Proposition 12 imposes arbitrary animal housing standards that reach outside of California’s borders to farms across the United States,” NPPC and AFBF said in their release. “By attempting to regulate businesses outside of its borders, the organizations say California’s Proposition 12 violates the commerce clause of the US Constitution.”

NPPC said that at the beginning of 2022, Prop 12 would prohibit pork sales not produced by California production standards. The group said this applies to any uncooked pork sold in the state, whether it was raised there or outside its borders.

In April 2020, a federal judge dismissed NPPC’s previous lawsuit challenging Prop 12. During March 2020, Oklahoma also tried to overturn Prop 12 by joining the case with NPPC and AFBF. Other states that signed that brief in support of the lawsuit included: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

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,” the organizations said in the latest filing. “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.”

The entire opening brief is available here