Full implementation of California’s law against farm animal cruelty

The U.S. pork industry contested Proposition 12, taking the matter to the Supreme Court, which affirmed states’ authority to regulate the meat industry. Consequently, pork sold in California must now adhere to the provisions of Proposition 12.

This legislation prohibits specific forms of severe confinement for farm animals, particularly gestation crates—metal enclosures often too cramped for sows to turn around. While certain aspects of the 2018 law have already been implemented, focusing on egg-laying hens and veal calves, Amber Canavan from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) lauds the law but emphasizes that some forms of animal cruelty remain permissible.

According to Canavan, pork producers can still subject pigs to distressing conditions, forcibly impregnate them, separate them from their offspring, and employ unsettling slaughter methods like gas chambers and captive bolt pistols. PETA’s standpoint underscores that consuming meat is unnecessary for a fulfilling and lengthy life.

Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling supporting state oversight, opponents argue that Proposition 12 has led to increased egg prices and shortages over the past six years. Notably, major pork producers, including Hormel, commit to producing meat compliant with Proposition 12.

Kate Brindle, representing the Humane Society of the United States, highlights that the battleground has shifted to Congress. Lawmakers are presently deliberating the EATS Act, which seeks to nullify various state agricultural and food safety laws, including Prop 12.


Brindle emphasizes the EATS Act’s potential to undermine Proposition 12, citing a Harvard Law School report identifying over 1,000 state and local laws at risk. In the Supreme Court case, public health groups argued that extreme confinement of animals compromises their immune systems, increasing susceptibility to diseases that could transmit to humans.

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