The saga of the California ballot measure Proposition 12 included a surprise Supreme Court ruling
— and could have a significant impact on the conditions under which certain animals are raised. The law
requires “veal calves, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens to be housed in systems that comply with specific standards for freedom of movement, cage-free design, and specified minimum floor space” — and while there are some exceptions to this, it isn’t difficult to see how this could spark significant change in the food world.
As Camryn Brewer writes
in the Los Angeles Times
, implementation of the law has posed challenges to regulators and restaurants alike. Specifically, it’s posed challenges for the pork industry. The article cites a statistic from the American Farm Bureau Federation’s deputy council to the effect that just 7% of pig farms where breeding takes place are up to Proposition 12’s standards.
This state of affairs led the state of California to extend the deadline for pork farms to be compliant by six months, to the beginning of January 2024. The issue, as Brewer writes, is that “[s]uppliers must have bought enough pork to last those six months prior to July 1” — which has resulted in supply chain issues and higher pork prices.