September 01, 2022

Massachusetts delays rule banning the sale of some pork

Massachusetts delays rule banning the sale of some pork  

By: Sydney Sheffield 

A federal judge in Massachusetts has agreed to delay the enforcement of Question 3, the state law that would ban the sale of pork that comes from animals not housed according to the state’s housing standards. Massachusetts’s Question 3 requirements are like those in California’s Proposition 12, which has been challenged in a case that will be heard by the Supreme Court this term, National Pork Producers Council v. Ross.

Question 3 was set to go into effect on August 15, 2022. A coalition led by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), with the National Restaurant Association and several New England restaurant and hospitality associations, filed suit seeking to stop the law’s impeding implementation. The suit also asks the court to find the law unconstitutional.

“This is a significant outcome as NPPC continues to push to preserve the rights of America’s pig farmers to raise hogs in the way that is best for their animals and maintains a reliable supply of pork for consumers,” said Terry Wolters, NPPC president. “The impact of Question 3 would have been particularly harmful to those in surrounding New England states who did not have a vote in the 2016 Massachusetts referendum, nor any notice of the dramatic steps that activists had taken trying to force these harmful initiatives on voters in other states.”

In 2016, Massachusetts voters passed ballot question 3, which imposes minimal animal-raising requirements for hogs, veal calves, and egg-laying hens raised in Massachusetts and for those animals (in any location) used to create products sold in Massachusetts. Going further than Proposition 12, Question 3 would not allow the transshipment of whole pork through the state jeopardizing an estimated $2 billion worth of pork that moves into neighboring New England states.

The judge ruled that Question 3 should be delayed until at least 30 days after the Supreme Court issues a ruling on Proposition 12. This agreement is limited to only the pork sales provision of Question 3, and producers located in Massachusetts are still required to comply with the in-state housing standards.

“This delay is great news for restaurants and guests across Massachusetts. This ruling ensures that until this issue is ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court, no major changes will take place in the Massachusetts pork supply,” said Stephen Clark, President, and CEO of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. “We have heard from countless restaurant owners and suppliers across Massachusetts concerned about the availably and cost of pork in the coming months. Of particular concern, is restaurant owners in the Latino and Asian restaurant community, pertaining to the availability of or more importantly, lack of compliant pork.”

The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments for Proposition 12 on October 11, 2022.