June 30, 2022

Supreme Court filings for California’s Proposition 12 underway

Supreme Court filings for California’s Proposition 12 underway 

By: Sydney Sheffield 

The National Pork Producer’s Council (NPPC) and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) recently filed the initial brief with the United States Supreme Court in the case against California’s Proposition 12 (Prop 12). The Proposition bans the sale of pork not produced according to the state’s production standards. 

“California is attempting to set the rules for the entire country,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Farmers are dedicated to caring for their animals, but this misguided law inhibits efforts to provide them a safe environment. Almost all of the pork consumed in California is produced outside of its borders. This law has the potential to devastate small family farms across the nation through unnecessary and expensive renovations, and every family will ultimately pay for the law through higher food prices.”

The organizations state that Prop 12 unconstitutionally regulates commerce outside of California, governs activity outside of California’s borders and beyond its police powers, and imposes substantial burdens on out-of-state farmers and their customers.

NPPC President Terry Wolters, owner of Stoney Creek Farms in Pipestone, MN said, “Farmers’ top priority every day is the health, safety, and welfare of the animals in their care. California’s Proposition 12 illegally regulates farms across the country and international borders. It will have ripple effects of jeopardizing the health and safety of the entire U.S. herd, driving many smaller farmers out of business, dramatically increasing costs, and limiting consumer choice of affordable and nutritious pork products.”

On the other side of the debate, several United States Senators asked Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar to support California’s Proposition 12 before the US Supreme Court. The United States solicitor general represents the federal government before the U.S. Supreme Court. Senators Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) were among the 15 Democratic legislators to sign the letter. It was supported by one Independent. 

“We believe that the previous administration’s position on Proposition 12 was based on a misconception of the law. As is stated in the ballot measure text itself, the purpose of California’s Proposition 12 was not only to improve animal welfare but to ‘phase out extreme methods of farm animal confinement, which also threaten the health and safety of California consumers and increase the risk of foodborne illness and associated negative fiscal impacts on the State of California,” the letter states. ‘If adopted, this ruling could allow large, multi-state corporations to evade numerous state laws that focus on harms to their constituents, including those addressing wildlife trafficking, climate change, renewable energy, stolen property trafficking, and labor abuses.”  

More news regarding the case is expected, as The Supreme Court will likely hear the case this fall.