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.
“The Commerce Clause prohibits California’s attempt to usurp other States’ authority to set their own animal-husbandry policies. California’s rules are a substantial departure from current practices in most States,” the attorneys general state in their brief. “The Commerce Clause does not permit California to upset those practices by setting a single, nationwide animal-confinement policy.”
Another amicus brief was filed in support of the legal challenge to Prop 12. The brief was filed by a group of industry organizations including the National Association of Manufacturers, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Because more than 99% of Proposition 12’s effects will take place out-of-state, the substantial and market-distorting compliance costs that will be felt nationwide far outstrip any ancillary benefits that may flow to California consumers,” the brief states.