Prop 12 Puts Pork Production in Peril

Mar 26, 2021

Consumers continue to push for more oversight into animal welfare and sustainability practices, and California’s Proposition 12 (formally titled Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act) is just the latest in a string of measures that will significantly impact the nation’s livestock industry. It passed in November 2018, with more than 60% of the California vote.

In a nutshell: Proposition 12 sets new criteria for the confinement of sows (and laying hens, and veal calves). Under the new guidelines, each sow will require at least 24 square feet of space. Not in compliance? Pork would be pulled from sale.

And one other tiny detail: Pork produced in other states for sale in California must also comply.

Constitutionality challenges: The North American Meat Institute has already challenged the legality of Proposition 12, but the US Court of Appeals ruled against that challenge; they’re now asking the Supreme Court to review that ruling.

And this… The National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation have also sued the state. Oral arguments are expected at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on April 14.

Potentially pig changes comin’: If those legal challenges aren’t successful, the new regulations are set to take effect on January 1, 2022 — and how it would impact markets and procedures around the world is open to speculation.

With less than 4% of the current U.S. sow herd raised per the Prop 12 rules, many fear that immediate supply chain disruptions will be a near certainty.