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Farm Bureau, National Pork Producers sue California over Proposition 12

The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council have filed a lawsuit against the State of California. 

Travis Cushman with AFBF tells Brownfield the lawsuit filed late Thursday was necessary because Proposition 12 reaches outside the borders of California in an unprecedented way. “It creates very arbitrary animal confinement requirements that have no basis in husbandry practices and years of practice knowledge of how to raise these animals, and we think that has gone too far.”

Cushman says California’s Proposition 12 animal housing guidelines were drafted by an anti-agriculture group. “These were actually drafted by the Humane Society of the United States, and they are not farmers. Their goal is not to promote farm and agriculture, and there’s something fundamentally wrong when you have an activist group that is telling farmers the best way to operate their farms.”

Edgerton, Minnesota pork producer Randy Spronk is a past NPPC President and serves on the U.S. Meat Export Federation Executive Committee. He says, “Almost 15% of the pork that’s produced in the United States is actually then sold into California or brought into California, and Prop 12 puts some arbitrary conditions on sow housing that in my mind is detrimental and takes away my decisions and the ability to (manage) how to best house my sows.”

And, he says the Proposition 12 guidelines hinder his ability to properly care for animals that need extra attention. “Not only the square footage that they have but the inability to use individual housing in times that’s needed for extra care during until-confirmed-pregnant or implantation of an embryo or to more properly feed or care for an animal. It does not allow that.”

The two farm groups say less than 1% of U.S. pork production meets California’s Proposition 12 animal housing guidelines, and that California’s law does not improve animal welfare or food safety.  The lawsuit claims Proposition 12 violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution and should be invalidated.

NPPC says about 15% of U.S. pork goes to California consumers.

Travis Cushman from AFBF discusses the Proposition 12 lawsuit with Brownfield’s Larry Lee
Pork Producer Randy Spronk discusses Proposition 12 issues with Brownfield’s Larry Lee

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