Ninth Circuit rules California can continue plans to ban most pork products at the end of 2021

Would you stay in California if pork is outlawed?

Only 4% of pig farms nationwide are certified to allow their pork to be sold in California after January 1st, 2022.

In 2018, Californian’s passed Proposition 12 which does the following:

  • establish minimum space requirements based on square feet for calves raised for veal, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens and
  • ban the sale of (a) veal from calves, (b) pork from breeding pigs, and (c) eggs from hens when the animals are confined to areas below minimum square feet requirements.

Beginning in 2020, Proposition 12 was set to ban the confinement of:

  • calves (young domestic cows) in areas with less than 43 square feet of usable floor space per calf and
  • egg-laying hens (chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, and guinea fowl) in areas with less than 1 square foot of usable floor space per hen.

Beginning in 2022, Proposition 12 was set to ban the confinement of:

  • breeding pigs and their immediate offspring in areas with less than 24 square feet of usable floor space per pig and
  • egg-laying hens in areas other than indoor or outdoor cage-free housing systems based on the United Egg Producers’ 2017 cage-free guidelines, which define cage-free housing as areas that provide 1.0 to 1.5 square feet of usable floor space per hen and allow hens to move around inside the area.

The proposition was never billed as pro-vegan or anti-carnivore. They spent about $700k on a public campaign to frame the proposition as preventing animal cruelty on farms. However, critics say their true plan was to force the public to eat less meat by making it far more expensive.

The Nine Circuit Court of Appeals just threw out a federal lawsuit to block the new rules. The Supreme Court already denied a request to review the law.

To sell pork products in California in 2022, the pig farmers must go through a complicated accreditation process and renew their credentials each year. They must keep complex records just for the state of California. There will be complex label requirements, and they must give California the authority to police their farm, even if they don’t live in that state.

Dwight Mogler runs a family-owned pig farm in Alvord, Iowa, and raises 300 pigs at a time. He told his local ABC affiliate that the cost to bring all his barns into compliance would be $3 million. Then the same barns would only hold 250 pigs, meaning less revenue each year.

According to the North American Meat Institute, even the smallest size pig farms are looking at a $100k expense, plus extra annual expenditures. The Institute maintains that Prop 12 will make pork a luxury item that only California’s wealthy elites can afford.

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