California Initiative Would Dictate Production Practices

California is in a class by itself when it comes to dictating how other states should raise animals. ( Farm Journal )

A California initiative that would require egg-laying hens to be “cage-free” and that would prohibit the sale of pork and veal from animals raised in housing the state banned in 2008 was approved for the November ballot. The National Pork Producers Council wrote about the initiative in its recent Capital Report.

“Animal-rights groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, collected more than 660,000 signatures for the measure – only about 366,000 were required to get it on the ballot,” NPPC reports. “In 2008, California voters approved an initiative that banned so-called battery cages for egg-laying hens, gestation stalls for sows and crates for veal calves.”

According to NPPC, the state legislature in 2010 outlawed the sale of eggs from hens housed in battery cages regardless of where they were raised.

“The 2018 initiative would extend the sales ban to pork from hogs born to sows housed in gestation stalls, beginning Jan. 1, 2022, and to veal from calves housed in crates, starting Jan. 1, 2019, anywhere in the country,” NPPC said. It added that egg farmers in the state would need to comply with the cage-free mandate by Jan. 1, 2022.

“NPPC strongly opposes the initiative, which would raise food prices for consumers and restrain interstate trade, a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause. The clause gives Congress absolute power to regulate trade among the states,” it said in the Report. “The organization is backing a provision in the House Farm Bill that would prohibit states from regulating agricultural practices outside their borders.”