September 19, 2023

Animal welfare and farm groups sue California Department of Agriculture for failing to pass voter-approved Proposition 12

Pigs piled up in a dirty pen

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, December 2, 2021 / – In an effort to ensure the proper implementation of California Proposition 12 – with key provisions coming into effect in California in January that restrict the sale of pork and eggs from breeding sows and laying hens severely contained – key supporters of the measure sued the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) in Sacramento Superior Court. Animal Wellness Action, Animal Wellness Foundation, the Center for a Humane Economy, and Americans for Family Farmers have filed a lawsuit against the CDFA challenging the regulations the agency proposed to implement the law. While Proposition 12 was enacted to address animal cruelty, environmental pollution and public health concerns, the regulations proposed by the CDFA conflict with the legislation implementing Proposition 12 by failing to not taking into account all of the harmful impacts of industrialized animal containment systems that have long dominated American meat. and egg production.

Building on a 2008 voter-approved voting measure (Prop 2), voters in California strengthened state farm animal welfare laws by enacting Proposition 12 in a vote overwhelming, 63% in favor and 37% against. The latter measure prescribes more specific space allocations for breeding sows, laying hens and veal calves and also restricts the sale of pork, eggs and veal from farms that do not comply with the law. For example, starting January 1, 2022, pork producers will only be able to sell pork in California if they meet the humane handling and food safety standards of Prop 12, regardless of where they are raising. sows.

“The California Department of Food and Agriculture has a legal responsibility to propose and pass regulations that comply with all of the terms of Proposition 12,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action. “With its regulatory proposals, the agency has adopted the false framework of agrifood groups and omitted the threats to public health caused by the confinement of animals in cages and crates barely larger than their bodies. It is these conditions of overcrowding and high stress that create dangerous environments for the emergence and even mutation of pathogens. “

The legislative analysis of Proposal 12 made it clear that the purpose of its passage was both to end the cruel practices of confining calves, mother pigs and laying hens in tiny cages all their lives while by eliminating “dangerous products from these abuses.” animals in the Californian market ”, thus reducing“ the risk of people being made sick by food poisoning and pollution from factory farms ”, such as salmonella.

Despite this broad and multifaceted goal, the CDFA has proposed regulations that state that the inhumane containment practices that Proposition 12 was intended to address do not “have a direct impact on the human health and well-being of California residents. , worker safety or the state environment ”.

“Locking mother pigs in 60cm wide cages and laying hens in battery cages by the thousands is not only harmful to animals with increasing epidemics of diseases like swine and bird flu, but also has a negative impact. on public health as the link between the inhumane treatment of animals and zoonotic epidemics are better understood, ”said Americans for Family Farms President Donna Krudwig. “When voters went for Proposition 12, they also did so knowing that eliminating these inhumane confinement practices would help family farmers who want to take good care of their animals but are unfairly forced to compete with corporations. greedy who drive the deplorable factory farming system. “

Voters in Massachusetts approved similar selling restrictions on pork and eggs by approving Amendment 3 in November 2016. The measure was also approved by an overwhelming vote, 78% in favor of the measure and just 22% s ‘opposing it.

Seven other states have banned gestational funds (by actions of voters, legislators or state agencies), including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan and Ohio. Additionally, more than 100 major grocery retailers, including McDonald’s, Costco, Safeway and Target, have expressed opposition to gestation cages, with most companies pledging to phase in cage-less pork purchases by 2022. McDonald’s announced in 2012 that it “believes that gestation stalls are not a sustainable production system for the future.” Kroger’s announced that “an environment without a gestational cage is more humane and the pig industry should work towards housing without a gestational cage.” Costco has said it wants “all pigs in our pork supply chain to be housed in groups” and said “this transition should be accomplished by 2022 at the latest.”

Despite this emerging consensus that gestation cages and battery cages are inhumane, the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation have asked the United States Supreme Court to review a recent 9th Circuit ruling upholding the law. The 9th Circuit decision was part of a series of lawsuits federal courts have dismissed against agribusiness interests seeking to overturn the law. Federal courts have consistently upheld a state’s ability to regulate business practices within the state, even in the event of accidental out-of-state impacts, especially when motivated, even in part, by public health problems.

The applicants in this case are represented by Jessica Blome of Greenfire Law, PC.

Animal Wellness Action is a 501 (c) (4) organization based in Washington, DC, whose mission is to help animals by promoting legal standards that prohibit cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of pets, farm animals and wildlife. We advocate for policies to end dog and rooster fighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to combat factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we encourage the adoption of good public policies and strive to enforce those policies. To pass good laws, we need to elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our problems and which don’t. We believe that helping animals helps us all.
The Center for a Humane Economy (“the Center”) is a non-profit organization that aims to influence the conduct of businesses to forge a humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal welfare movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key players hate cruelty and environmental degradation and embrace it. innovation as a means of eliminating both.

The Animal Wellness Foundation (Foundation) is a private, Los Angeles-based charitable organization with a mission to help animals by making veterinary care available to anyone with a pet, regardless of economic capacity. We organize rescue and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless animals find a loving person. We campaign for veterinarians to be at the forefront of the animal welfare movement; promote responsible pet ownership; and vaccinate animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. We also support policies that prevent cruelty to animals and alleviate suffering. We believe that helping animals helps us all.

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