In this file:
· Opinion: California Declares War on Pork
· Opinion: Pork producers and bacon lovers, stop squealing over California’s new animal welfare law
California Declares War on Pork
Ryan Lanier, WasteWatcher, Citizens Against Government Waste
Jan 11, 2022
The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW).
Among the many laws that took effect on January 1, 2022, was a California law prohibiting the sale of pork, eggs, or veal that fails to meet strict state standards. The law, which establishes demanding requirements for the living conditions of livestock, promises to drive up already high pork prices and threatens the availability of pork throughout the state of California.
In 2018, California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 12, the Farm Animal Confinement Initiative. Under the law, no business owner in California may sell meat from “a covered animal who was confined in a cruel manner, or is the meat of immediate offspring of a covered animal who was confined in a cruel manner.” The statute requires that each pig must have at least 24 square feet of space to avoid qualification as a covered animal from confinement in a “cruel manner.” Although the law applies to veal calves and hen-laying chickens as well and many producers in those industries have taken steps to conform, compliance places the greatest burden on pork producers.
Since its adoption, the law has come under attack from various meat producers who warn about the impact the law will have on the state. Analysis of a similar California law passed in 2008 on changes in animal confinement led to a decrease in the supply and number of eggs produced in California, higher egg imports, and increased egg prices. As a result of the passage of Proposition 12, CNN Business reported, Californians could find even fewer options in the grocery store and learn that some pork products are “too expensive for lower-income people, further limiting their access to proper nutrition.” Promoted in the name of animal welfare, this law will negatively impact both the financial and physical health of the people of California, in particular those with lower incomes.
Like many other California laws, this law applies far beyond the state’s borders. Under the law, business owners may not sell any domestic or imported pork that fails to meet the state’s conditions. As a result, out of state pork producers, who provide 98 percent of California’s pork, will either be forced to change their business practices to meet the state’s stringent standards, or stop selling their products in the state. The Golden State alone accounts for 15 percent of the pork sold in the United States each year. According to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), less than 5 percent of America’s pork producers currently adhere to California’s strict new standards. To continue selling pork in the state, out of state producers will have to undergo drastic changes to their operations. Consequently, California’s effort to reform livestock conditions will allow one state to dictate policy for the entire nation...
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Opinion: Pork producers and bacon lovers, stop squealing over California’s new animal welfare law
By Helaine Olen, Columnist, The Washington Post
Jan 12, 2022
ORANGE COUNTY — Big Bacon is sizzling with anger at new California regulations that mandate better living quarters for pregnant pigs. Pork producers say that if the rules remain on the state’s books, Californians might soon be unable to afford to bring home the bacon — or ham or sausage.
But these pork producers’ arguments are, well, less than fully cooked.
At issue: In 2018, Golden State voters approved Proposition 12, which requires that several types of breeding animals be housed in enclosures large enough for them to turn around or lay down easily. The covered creatures include hogs; poultry reared for eggs and calves destined to become veal. If these more humane conditions were not met, with specific size requirements taking effect at different points, the animal products cannot be sold in the state — no matter whether the animals were bred in California’s Central Valley, or in Iowa, or somewhere else equally far-flung.
After some legal squawking, the poultry industry complied. Veal breeders, too. But Big Bacon and its allies continue to squeal (yes, like pigs). Many are still not complying with the regulations, the latest segment of which took effect with the new year.
Opponents argue that the cost of retrofitting hog holding pens will drive small farmers out of business. If forced to comply, many opponents have threatened to stop selling to California, at least temporarily — a move that an industry-funded study says could drive up pork prices here by 60 percent.
Some have suggested that “bacon gate” is part of an effort to cut meat consumption by “government telling consumers what to eat.” And some are protesting against “radical” California forcing its values on middle-America’s farmers.
That last argument has some truth.
More than 1 in 10 Americans live in California, where some 15 percent of the country’s pork products are gobbled up. But only a small fraction of the pork consumed in the Golden State is raised here. So enforcement of Proposition 12 means that California voters are dictating rules that hog farmers across the nation need to follow if they want to sell to California’s many consumers. The Associated Press reported last summer that just 4 percent of U.S. operations would meet the new standard.
Industry trade groups have gone to court, which have so far ruled against them. The U.S. Supreme Court discussed a petition recently, but has not yet announced whether it will hear an appeal by the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation on their claim that California is exceeding its authority over other states…
... Here are some points for all sides to chew on...
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