Ag Groups Seek Supreme Court Appeal of Proposition 12

Brian GermanDairy & Livestock, Industry

Ag groups are continuing to push back against the coming implementation of California’s Proposition 12. The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) have petitioned the Supreme Court to take up the case against the measure. A similar action was brought about by the meat industry in which the Supreme Court ultimately refused to hear the challenge. In this case, AFBF and NPPC argue that the animal confinement requirements of the measure violate the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Proposition 12

“We’re asking the Supreme Court to consider the constitutionality of one state imposing regulations that reach far outside its borders and stifle interstate and international commerce,” NPPC President Jen Sorenson said in a press release. “In this case, arbitrary animal housing standards that lack any scientific, technical or agricultural basis and that will only inflict harm on U.S. hog farmers.”

In the petition, the groups point out that the California Department of Food and Agriculture admits the confinement rules will not achieve the desired results. Thus far, AFBF and NPPC have been unsuccessful in their efforts to invalidate Proposition 12 at the district and appellate court levels. The two groups assert the recent dismissal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit was based on precedent that counters several other decisions issued in the federal circuit court.

“Supporters of Proposition 12 claimed it would improve animal welfare and food safety. The law fails to address either of those issues,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Farmers know the best way to care for their animals. This law takes away the flexibility to ensure hogs are raised in a safe environment while driving up the cost of providing food for America’s families. Small family farms well beyond California’s borders will be hit hardest as they are forced to make expensive and unnecessary changes to their operations. This will lead to more consolidation in the pork industry and higher prices at the grocery store, meaning every family in America will ultimately pay the price for Prop 12.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West