U.S – California’s “Proposition 12,” heralded as the nation’s most robust farm animal protection law, has taken full effect this week, drawing both acclaim and opposition.
The law, passed by voters in 2018, prohibits the sale of meat products produced through “extreme confinement” methods, impacting pork, egg, and veal products.
Despite legal challenges, including a Supreme Court case, Proposition 12 now has sweeping implications for meat producers nationwide.
Supporters, including the Humane Society of the United States, lauded the law’s full implementation.
“We are thrilled that Proposition 12, the nation’s strongest farm animal protection law, is finally fully implemented. No animal deserves to spend her life in a cage where she’s virtually immobilized,” Kitty Block, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, stated.
The law faced opposition within California and across the U.S., but its ascent signifies a significant milestone for animal welfare advocates.
Block emphasized limited impacts on major producers.
“It’s also telling that some of the largest companies in the pork industry have not signaled concern about rising prices in this regard.
“Hormel Foods, Clemens Food Group, Perdue and Tyson Foods have all issued statements saying that they are ready to meet demand for crate-free pork produced in accordance with Proposition 12 standards,” he stated.
Originally scheduled for mid-2023, the law’s enforcement was delayed until December 31, 2023, allowing for a transitional period.
However, potential legal challenges loom as U.S. legislators consider the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act in the upcoming Farm Bill. This legislation aims to prevent states and local jurisdictions from interfering with the interstate production and distribution of agricultural products.
The outcome of Proposition 12 and the potential adoption of similar measures in other states may shape the future landscape of farm animal welfare regulations in the U.S. beyond 2024.