(The Center Square) – A new animal welfare law going into effect in California Jan. 1 that mandates space requirements for pigs, cows and chickens has some livestock farmers on edge.
Proposition 12 prohibits sales in California of pork, veal and eggs from livestock whose confinement doesn’t meet certain minimum space rules. Those rules mandate hog pens to be large enough for an animal to turn around.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law, ruling 5-4 that “while the Constitution addresses many weighty issues, the type of pork chops California merchants may sell is not on that list.”
“The Supreme Court decision in National Pork Producers Council v. Ross, affirming the constitutionality of Proposition 12, a law setting standards for the sale of certain animal products in California, was the greatest legal victory in animal protection history,” said Bernard Unti, senior principal strategist with the Humane Society of the United States.
The National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation contend the requirements violate the constitution’s Commerce Clause because California represents less than one-sixth of domestic demand and sources most of its pork from other states.