WASHINGTON —The United States Supreme Court denied a petition from the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) to hear its case regarding the constitutionality of Proposition 12, California’s animal confinement law that will go into force in 2022. There was no explanation from the Supreme Court on why they would not hear the petition. 

Prop 12 creates minimum requirements for confinement of laying hens, breeding pigs and veal calves. The law also prohibits the sale in California of all products from animals not raised in compliance with the new rules, regardless of their origin. The legislation is limited to uncooked commodity pork such as cured, preserved or flavored. It does not include cooked products. California residents voted to pass Prop 12 in 2018. 

Even with the decision by the Supreme Court, NAMI said it would still be fighting the upcoming law in California.

“We are disappointed our petition for cert was denied,” said Sarah Little, vice president of communications for NAMI. “We will be considering other options to block Proposition 12 which will cost both producers and consumers millions of dollars according to economists and the state of California’s own analysis.”

NAMI joined 20 other states in challenging the constitutionality of Prop 12 in the spring and filed an amicus brief challenging the law. The brief was filed by Indiana and joined by Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Late in February 2021, NAMI filed a petition for a writ of certiorari – a type of writ by which an appellate court decides to review a case at its discretion – asking the Supreme Court to review an earlier ruling from a lower court.

Another lawsuit in the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals in San Francisco is also still being heard about Prop 12 that was brought on by the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) showed the proposed rule in late May along with details of what the agency believes are the fiscal impacts of the law.

The CDFA acknowledged that California producers of shell eggs, liquid eggs, whole veal meat, and whole pork meat will find it more costly to compete with out-of-state farms that aren't required to follow similar rules for animal confinement.