The Supreme Court will hear arguments over California’s animal cruelty laws that could raise prices for bacon and other pork products statewide.
The outcome of the lawsuit is important for the country’s $26 billion pork industry, but it also has implications for foreign policy, from laws to combat climate change to laws that should be regulated by prescription drug prices. It can also limit a state’s ability to pass laws that affect it.
The lawsuit in court Tuesday concerns California Proposition 12, which voters approved of his 2018. Pork sold in the state must come from pigs raised by the mother in at least her 24-square-foot space, including the ability to lie down and roll over, it said.
Two trade groups, the Iowa-based National Pork Producers Council and the Federation of American Farmers, appealed the proposal. They say Californians consume 13% of pork consumed in the United States, nearly 100% of which is raised outside of the state, where the industry is primarily concentrated in the Midwest and North Carolina.
Pork producers say 72% of farmers use individual piggeries to prevent sows from rolling over, and even farmers who keep their piggeries in larger groups of piggeries don’t have the space California needs.
They also said that the way the pork market works, where cuts of meat from various producers are combined before sale, could require all pork to meet California standards, regardless of where it is sold.
Complying with Proposition 12 could cost the pork industry $290 million to $350 million, they say.
So far, lower courts have backed the state of California and animal rights groups in favor of the proposal.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is asking judges to side with pork producers. The government says Proposition 12 would “wholesale change the way pork is farmed and sold in this country.” He said the proposal “threw a huge wrench into the mechanics of the interstate pork market.”
California’s Proposition 12 targets other animals too.
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