In this file:
· Ninth Circuit Upholds California’s Law Governing Meat Production Standards
… meat producers who want to sell their products in California need to abide by the state’s animal cruelty law… NAMI attorney Paul Zidlicky of Sidley Austin said California can dictate animal welfare in the Golden State but not outside its borders. The panel did not agree with the trade group’s assessment…
· HSUS: Victory! Federal court rejects challenge to Prop 12
· AgNet: More Industry Groups Issue Support in Fighting Prop 12 Provisions
Ninth Circuit Upholds California’s Law Governing Meat Production Standards
Nathan Solis, Courthouse News Service
October 15, 2020
(CN) — A Ninth Circuit panel on Thursday upheld a district court’s ruling that says meat producers who want to sell their products in California need to abide by the state’s animal cruelty law.
The three-judge panel reaffirmed a federal judge’s ruling that denied the North American Meat Institute’s fight to keep the law from applying to businesses from outside the Golden State.
The North American Meat Institute is a trade group that boasts members from Tyson Foods, Butterball and many other meat suppliers.
California voters in 2018 approved Proposition 12, the Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act, that bans the sale of eggs and meat not produced to the state’s standards.
To abide by California’s confinement standards, farmers must provide 43 square feet of floor space for calves, 24 square feet for pigs and more than a foot for hens.
In its complaint filed in federal court in Los Angeles, NAMI argued the ban violated the commerce clause by essentially erecting a “trade barrier” and claimed the state’s law should not extend beyond its borders.
U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder denied the group’s request to block the law in November 2019, finding the law does not force out-of-state farmers to move to California to sell their goods.
Attorneys for NAMI claimed the law forced producers to a standard they had no say in and took away an advantage from those producers outside California.
During a June oral argument, U.S. District Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo, sitting with the Ninth Circuit panel by designation from the Southern District of California, asked the trade group why California voters were wrong when they voted to ensure their meat was not raised in a cruel manner.
NAMI attorney Paul Zidlicky of Sidley Austin said California can dictate animal welfare in the Golden State but not outside its borders.
The panel did not agree with the trade group’s assessment of the law and on Thursday affirmed Snyder’s ruling.
“The district court did not abuse its discretion in holding that NAMI was unlikely to succeed on the merits of its dormant Commerce Clause claim,” the panel wrote in a 3-page memorandum. “The district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that Proposition 12 does not have a discriminatory purpose given the lack of evidence that the state had a protectionist intent.”
The panel upheld that Prop 12 does not burden interstate commerce or impact a national industry or requires a uniform regulation system. They added that the district court was correct in denying a preliminary injunction because NAMI was unlikely to succeed on the merits of the case.
The panel also agreed that Prop 12 “does not directly regulate extraterritorial conduct because it is not a price control or price affirmation statute.”
Attorney Bruce Wagman with Riley Safer represented intervenors The Humane Society of the United States, and when reached by phone on Thursday said the law is not an economic protectionist statute, but one based on health and safety and animal cruelty...
Victory! Federal court rejects challenge to Prop 12
Kitty Block, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and CEO of Humane Society International (HSI)
The Humane Society of The United States (HSUS) - October 15, 2020
Our legal team has just warded off a challenge to California’s Proposition 12, the world’s strongest farm animal protection law.
A 9th Circuit court three-judge panel ruled today in favor of upholding this historic initiative that bans the heinous confinement of hens, mother pigs and baby veal calves in cages so small that the animals can barely move, and prevents the sale of products from such cruel confinement within the state. The Humane Society of the United States led the campaign for Proposition 12 in California in 2018 and it passed by an overwhelming 63% of the vote.
The court decision today upheld a judge’s ruling last November that rejected an attempt from the North American Meat Institute to stop the law from going into effect. The HSUS and our allies intervened to defend the law. Yet another judge sided with us this year in a similar case brought by the National Pork Producers Council. Today’s ruling further strengthens our long-held position that every state has the legal right to restrict the sale of cruelly-produced items.
The intensive confinement of farm animals also increases public health risks, including the spread of dangerous zoonotic diseases (diseases that jump from animals to people).
Of the three judges who issued the ruling today, two were appointed by President George W. Bush. This should send a loud and clear message to industry groups and others who have weighed in against Proposition 12 that it’s time to stop wasting taxpayers’ and members’ money on frivolous lawsuits designed to keep animals in cruel conditions. Animal welfare is not a partisan issue and judges are not buying the factory farm industry’s weak legal arguments.
Many producers are converting to cage-free systems because of Proposition 12 and because a growing number of corporations, including restaurant chains, food service companies and food manufacturers, are adopting cage-free policies of their own. The ruling today makes it crystal clear to manufacturers and industry groups who are stuck in the past that they need to eliminate their cruel cages forever if they choose to sell in the California market.
More Industry Groups Issue Support in Fighting Prop 12 Provisions
Brian German, AgNet West
October 15, 2020
Efforts to invalidate California’s Proposition 12 continue to move forward. The National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation are challenging Prop 12 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. A judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California previously dismissed the challenge back in April. The two groups jointly filed an opening brief in opposition to the ballot initiative that was approved in 2018.
“The district court erred by dismissing the complaint. The objective of the sales ban is to prevent animal cruelty in other States. California does not identify any in-state harm caused by the use of prohibited practices elsewhere and has deliberately declined to argue that Proposition 12 protects California consumers,” the brief states. “In addition to an improper purpose, Proposition 12 will also have the practical effect of controlling conduct in other States.”
Prop 12 prohibits the sale of veal, pork, and eggs from animals that are not raised according to California standards, regardless of where the products originate from. The law is set to take effect beginning in 2022. Opponents have argued that California does not have the authority to set nationwide standards. Attorneys general from 20 states have filed an amicus brief in support of the appeal efforts...