Prop 12 ban on food from animals in 'extreme confinement' goes into effect despite ongoing pushback

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Image source: Getty/t-lorien
Image source: Getty/t-lorien

Related tags Prop 12 Pork farms Animal welfare

California’s Proposition 12, which prohibits the sale of food products sourced from animals living in “cruel and extreme confinement,” went into effect this week after giving retailers until Dec. 31, 2023, to sell any remaining “non-compliant pork products that were already in the stream of commerce,” according to a statement from the Humane Society.

The law, also known as the Farm Animal Confinement Initiative, included egg and veal provisions and more recently in August 2023, included pork​. Supporters of Proposition 12 include the American Public Health Association, Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Center for Food Safety, which cited the health risks associated with extreme animal confinement, including salmonella, E. coli and the potential risk of another pandemic.

Major pork producers, restaurants and grocery stores say they will comply with Prop 12 standards, including Albertsons, Chipotle and Niman Ranch, as well as Hormel Foods, Clemens Food Group, Perdue, DeBreton farms and Tyson Foods.

Perdue said in a statement that Prop 12 reflects shifting consumer sentiments towards humanely farmed livestock, adding that “the market has shifted to create strong demand for pork that is farmed humanely and without cruelty.”

Data ​from polling firm, Data for Progress, reported that 80% of U.S. bipartisan voters prefer a law in their state like Prop 12.

NPPC supports EATS Act, citing rising costs for pork producers and stricter state regulations

In August 2023, pork industry trade group, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) announced its support for Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act, a bill introduced by U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, which would “curb the ability of states to regulate agricultural products sold within their borders,” according to Reuters​.

Despite some NPCC members, like Smithfield Foods which offers Prop 12-compliant pork yet supports Congressional action to overturn the law, NPPC argues that Prop 12 would not only raise costs for pork producers and lead to more state restrictions, but animal welfare conditions would not improve.

However, smaller farmers like Niman Ranch, a subsidiary of Perdue Farms, argue that Prop 12 offers more affordable farming methods where pigs can be raised on pasture as opposed to building more barns, which can cost more than $700,000.

Further, more than 200 federal lawmakers across 35 states publicly support​ the exclusion of the EATS Act and other related legislation in the upcoming Farm Bill, along with 30 university law professors​ from Harvard Law, UCLA School of Law and New York University School of Law, among others, who expressed the same opposition.



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