LOS ANGELES – North American Meat Institute (NAMI) officials stated on Dec. 14 that the US Department of Justice and 20 states have joined the association’s petition opposing California’s Proposition 12.

NAMI is asking for a rehearing with an amicus brief in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In October, the same federal district court upheld Prop 12 after an appeal by NAMI.

“The support from the United States government and 20 states underscores the significance of our case against Prop 12,” said Julie Anna Potts, president and chief executive officer of NAMI. “Prop 12 is unconstitutional and not only hurts consumers with higher prices for pork, veal and eggs, it is costly for the federal government’s programs designed to help those facing hunger, including the Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. At a time when so many are turning to this critical assistance during the pandemic, Prop 12 hurts those most in need.”

Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming filed a separate amicus brief in support of NAMI’s petition.

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 2 was passed in 2008 in California which mandated cages for egg-laying hens must be large enough for the birds to stand up, lie down and extend their wings. Poultry and eggs not produced under these standards cannot be sold in California.

In November of 2019, US District Court Judge Christina Snyder denied NAMI’s request for a preliminary injunction against Proposition 12 finding that the law did not have a discriminatory purpose and applies equally to animals raised and slaughtered in California as they do to animals raised and slaughtered in any other state.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) launched a challenge to Prop 12 in December of 2019, but a federal judge dismissed that case in April.