WASHINGTON — In an Amicus Brief filed with the US Supreme Court on June 17, the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) urged the court to reverse a lower court’s judgement upholding California’s Proposition 12 animal confinement law. Several Democratic senators recently asked Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar to support California’s Proposition 12 before the US Supreme Court. The case is National Pork Producers Council v. Ross.
The law dictates minimum space requirements for animals and prohibits the sale of any pork, veal or eggs sourced from facilities outside of those limitations, regardless of origin.
Prop 12 was approved in 2018 by nearly two-thirds of California voters in 2018 and has since undergone multiple appeals without change, including one from the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) in March.
The Amicus Brief was filed in support of NPPC and AFBF in their case against Karen Ross, secretary of the California department of food and agriculture.
“A fundamental premise of our federal system is that each State is a sovereign laboratory of democracy, but only within its own borders,” NAMI said in its brief. “As a result, the Constitution denies California the authority to dictate the conditions under which farm animals must be housed outside California’s borders. Nor may California erect trade barriers whose purpose and effect are to regulate commerce outside the State.”
NAMI noted the restrictions that Prop 12 places on its members and farmers.
“NAMI’s members and farmers throughout the country face an untenable Hobson’s choice: either abandon the California market — approximately 13% of the entire US market — or spend hundreds of millions of dollars restructuring their production facilities and supply chains to suit California’s preferences,” the association said.
In January, a state court halted enforcement of the law until six months after the state finalizes rules.