Sows in the Supreme Court

Apr 1, 2022

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It’s no sow-prise Prop 12 is back in the courts. And soon, the Supreme Court will hear a challenge by farm groups.

Swine time in the courts: In 2018, California voters approved a ballot measure to give sows and egg-laying hens more room and ban the sale of meat produced on farms in states that don’t match California’s set standards. 

Since nearly one third of the hogs raised in America come from Iowa, the requirements would be a boar-den for hog producers, incurring “tens of millions of dollars” of costs yearly. The proposition took place Jan. 1, but there aren’t yet regulations or obligations for farmers set by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Not living high on the hog: Some ag groups are wanting to pork chop Prop 12, saying it’s a misguided law.

“One state’s misguided law should not dictate farming practices for an entire nation,” said Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. Meanwhile, according to president of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) Terry Wolters, Prop 12 “sets arbitrary animal housing standards that lack any scientific, technical, or agricultural basis and that will only inflict economic harm on U.S. hog farmers and consumers.”

That’ll do, pig: A California state judge barred enforcement of Prop 12, and it can’t be enforced until 180 days after regulations become final. Arguments could start this fall and rule by the end of the year, according to the NPPC.