US pork council backs anti-state regulation act

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

Sweeping changes to livestock production are often called for by animal activists
Sweeping changes to livestock production are often called for by animal activists

Related tags National pork producers U.s. state National pork producers council Pork

The US pork industry has thrown its weight behind an act that would stop states from adopting laws and regulations that ban the sale of products from outside of that state.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has backed the ‘No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2017’ H.R. 2887, introduced by Rep. James Sensenbrenner.

Neil Dierks, CEO of the NPPC, in congressional testimony, pledged the organisation’s support for the legislation. “Pork producers, not animal rights activists, lawmakers or regulators, should make the decisions about what production practices are best for their animals and for producing safe food.​”

Constitutional violation

NPPC has fought such bans, which have been pushed by animal rights groups. Nine states have banned – through legislation or ballot measures – gestation stalls, battery cages and veal crates, but only California and Massachusetts have extended the bans to sales in their states of products produced anywhere in the country that don’t comply with their housing standards.

The NPPC cited the example of Massachusetts, which last year approved a ballot initiative that outlaws in the state the use of gestation stalls for housing sows, battery cages​ for egg-laying hens and crates for veal calves and prohibits the sale of out-of-state pork, eggs and veal from animals kept in the banned housing. In 2010 the California Legislature adopted a similar sales prohibition, after voters in the state in 2008 approved a nearly identical ban on animal housing.

Changes in production practices should be driven by the marketplace, not government fiats or even ballot initiatives,​” Dierks told the House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law.

He added that, while states had the prerogative to ban certain agriculture production practices for their farmers, “they shouldn’t be allowed to adopt laws or regulations that dictate the practices of farmers in the other 49 states​”.

Dierks told the panel that this level of restraint of interstate commerce would appear to be a violation of the US Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which gives absolute power to Congress to regulate such trade.

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