National Pork Producers consider next steps for Prop 12

The National Pork Producers Council says all options are being considered to address Proposition 12 before the law goes into effect this summer.

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to uphold the California law banning the sale of pork, veal and eggs in California from animals anywhere in the country whose confinement does not meet minimum space requirements. The NPPC says one state should not have the ability to regulate production in other states.

CEO Bryan Humphreys says it is possible for Congress to include language addressing interstate commerce in the next farm bill.

“We’ve seen comments from members of Congress who are just as frustrated with this ruling as we are and at this point, we haven’t ruled anything out.”

Proposition 12 doesn’t allow sows to be confined in spaces where they can’t lie down, stand or turn around.

The Humane Society of the United States says they are supportive of Prop 12, because farm animals should not be confined and ending confinement is crucial for human health.

NPPC President and Missouri hog farmer Scott Hays tells Brownfield he will not make changes to become Prop 12 compliant, because animals need individual care. He also says sows can get mean.

“There has to be a boss sow and there will be a sow in the pen that’s not treated very well,” he says. “Now farms will have to deal with that. Some group housing systems in the past had ways of dealing with that with individual pens for animals, but Prop 12 doesn’t allow for that either.”

NPPC Chief Legal Strategist Michael Formica says some U.S. hog farmers have already started updating production facilities, but it is still unclear what is expected of U.S. hog producers, meat distributors and retailers when the law goes into effect July 1.

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