AFBF calls California pork law 'unconstitutional' in Supreme Court brief


Farm News Media/Michigan Farm News/Michigan Farm Bureau

June 16, 2022


AFBF and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) are challenging the constitutionality of California’s controversial Proposition 12 measure that they say could “devastate small family farms across the nation.”


In a briefing filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, the groups cite Proposition 12 for seeking to ban the sale of pork from hogs that don’t meet the states arbitrary production standards. That law would apply even to pork that is raised outside of California, raising serious questions about the legality of regulating commerce outside the state’s borders.


AFBF and NPPC assert Proposition 12:


    Unconstitutionally regulates commerce outside of California.

    Governs activity outside of California’s borders and beyond its police powers.

    Imposes substantial burdens on out-of-state farmers and their customers.


The brief states Proposition 12 “will require massive and costly changes across the entire $26-billion-a-year industry. And it inescapably projects California’s policy choices into every other State, a number of which expressly permit their farmers to house sows in ways inconsistent with Proposition 12.”


In January, a California judge delayed enforcement of Proposition 12 for pork retailers and grocers until 180 days after the California Department of Food and Agriculture puts its final regulations in place. The Supreme Court announced in March that it would hear the case against Proposition 12 filed by AFBF and NPPC.


AFBF President Zippy Duvall said California is attempting to set the rules for the entire country.


“Farmers are dedicated to caring for their animals, but this misguided law inhibits efforts to provide them a safe environment. Almost all of the pork consumed in California is produced outside of its borders.”


Duvall notes that Proposition 12 could force farmers to undergo unnecessary and expensive renovations — ultimately leading to every family paying for the law through higher food prices.


According to NPPC, less than 1% of U.S. pork production meets Proposition 12 requirements, which the group said is a troubling statistic since California represents 15% of the U.S. pork market...


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