Why Prop 12 Would Be Detrimental to Hog Farmers and Consumers


By Michael Formica, NPPC Assistant Vice President and General Counsel

via FarmJournal's Pork - Apr 29, 2021  


California’s Proposition 12, set to be implemented on Jan. 1, 2022, will have wide-reaching implications, imposing arbitrary animal housing standards that reach far outside the state’s borders to farms across the country, while driving up costs for both pork producers and consumers. It’s a clear regulatory overreach and a violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.


For these reasons, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) are suing the state of California. In recent oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, NPPC and AFBF asked the court to strike down California’s Proposition 12 as unconstitutional.


Proposition 12 bans the sale of pork that does not meet the state’s arbitrary standards. Specifically, it bans the sale of pork from the offspring of sows kept in individual stalls that do not meet its prescribed dimensions. The typical sow farm today provides a safe and comfortable 16-18 square feet per sow. Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, California requires all sows to have 24 feet of space. Importantly, Proposition 12 prohibits the use of individual breeding pens, which allow sows to recover after delivering and nursing piglets. California’s production standards were developed without the input of hog farmers, veterinarians and others with expertise in animal care, food safety and other elements of pork production.


Proposition 12 applies to any uncooked pork sold in California, whether raised there or outside the state’s borders...