"Next on the Supreme Court Docket: Farm Animal Welfare"

"Oral arguments begin next week in a case targeting California’s Proposition 12, a law that bans the sale of pork from farm systems that cage pigs. The ruling has implications for a wide range of other environmental and public health laws."

"For more than a decade, animal welfare advocates have been fighting to—and in some cases succeeding at—get chickens, veal calves, and mother pigs out of cages that are barely larger than their bodies. In 2020, close to 30 percent of egg-laying chickens in the U.S. were raised in cage-free systems, compared to only around 5 percent in 2010. Grocery and fast food chains have primarily driven the shift through commitments to cage-free, but citizens and their representatives have also weighed in, with 14 states passing laws that ban the caging of farm animals in some way.

In 2018, the passage of one of those laws—California’s Proposition 12—pushed the issue into its most significant battle to date: On October 11, it will be challenged in front of the Supreme Court, in National Pork Producers Council v. Ross.

Segments of the pork industry and the American Farm Bureau Federation have fought this particular law aggressively because it doesn’t just prohibit cages on California farms, it also bans the sale of pork (and eggs and veal) that comes from farms using caged systems, regardless of what state they’re in. Along the way, they’ve lost multiple lawsuits in lower courts. In front of the nation’s highest court, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) will argue that the law violates a clause in the Constitution that prevents states from regulating commerce outside their borders.

The case has implications that extend beyond the lives of the country’s breeding pigs—whether the moral concerns of citizens can be used to pass laws that shape business practices."

Lisa Held reports for Civil Eats October 5, 2022.


"Supreme Court Grapples With Animal Welfare In A Challenge To A California Law Requiring Pork To Be Humanely Raised" (PBS News Hour)

"What Is California’s ‘War On Breakfast’ Really About?" (High Country News)

"Animal Rights Activists Are Acquitted in Smithfield Piglet Case" (New York Times)

"What A Supreme Court Case On Pigs Means For Renewable Energy" (E&E News)

"The Surprisingly High Stakes In A Supreme Court Case About Bacon" (Vox)

Source: Civil Eats, 10/10/2022