Back in 2018, California voters passed Proposition 12, which is scheduled to go into effect on January 1 of 2022. A Protect the Harvest press release says the bill increases regulations on the egg, pork, and veal producers both in the state of California as well as any out-of-state producers that want to sell products in the state. Proposition 12 was written, funded, and marketed by the Humane Society of the United States and their “Prevent Cruelty California” coalition.
The proposition had a negative impact on the veal, pork, and egg industries and has ultimately impacted consumers. Right now, just one percent of pork producers comply with the housing requirements of Prop 12. When it goes into effect in 2022, a majority of the nation’s pork farmers won’t be allowed to sell their products in California.
According to the Association for California Egg Farmers, “Although California egg farmers are transitioning to cage-free as quickly as possible, it’s estimated that 35% of the eggs produced in California will not be cage-free by 2021. According to an economic study, a reduction in egg supplies of this magnitude occurred back in 2015 when Proposition 2 became law. It is very likely that Californian egg consumers will experience a similar price hike in 2021…”
The American Farm Bureau and the National Pork Producers Council have jointly filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to ask that Prop 12 be ruled invalid. The appeal says that Prop 12 is unconstitutional and seeks to allow California to regulate states outside its governance by requiring producers to abide by the state’s own regulations to do business there.
The groups say that California is specifically violating the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. That clause authorizes Congress ‘to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several states and with Indian Tribes.’ This has been interpreted as a grant of positive authority to Congress and as implicit prohibition of state laws and/or regulations that interfere with or discriminate against interstate commerce. The Commerce Clause is a legal foundation for much of the United States government’s regulatory power. In its simplest form, the Commerce Clause allows the federal government to regulate trade so that the free flow of trade or commerce between the states is not blocked by individual state laws.
In October 2019, the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 12. The lawsuit stated that the initiative would hurt the nation’s food value chain by significantly increasing costs for producers and consumers. Unfortunately, only weeks later, Judge Christina A. Snyder sided with animal extremist organizations and rejected the NAMI request.
NAFB/Northern Ag Network/Protect the Harvest