In this episode of Beef Buzz, Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is back with the Chief Legal Strategist for the National Pork Producer’s Council, Michael Formica, talking more about the ramifications of California’s Proposition 12.
California’s Proposition 12 is aimed to mandate that in order to sell pork products in the state of California, they must be produced to the standards proposed by the state. This is not a product safety issue, but a preference for how animals are treated.
The newest member of the U.S. Supreme Court, Ketanji Brown Jackson, proposed a solution to the issue by suggesting that pork producers label their product regarding how it was produced. Formica said this idea was not well-liked by the promotors of Proposition 12.
“They don’t really like that approach because that is an indication that they are likely going to lose this,” Formica said.
Once the decision is made by the Supreme Court, Formica said they will be back at the district court for a trial.
“We are going to have to have a trial over this,” Formica said. “So, we will have the experts come in and talk about the harm that is being incurred on farms to the supply chain, and how disruptive this really is. That is going to take another year or so. We will try our hardest to keep Prop 12 from going into effect.”
At the same time, Formica said, animal rights groups are pushing Proposition 12. These groups are incredibly well funded, Formica added.
“They are formidable opponents, so step two is going to be the trial, and they are going to continue coming at us and what we need is this clear road map from the Supreme Court,” Formica said.
Aside from Proposition 12, Formica said there are a few more ballot initiatives surfacing in other states, such as Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington.
“We expect to see them in 2024,” Formica said.
The state of New Jersey, Formica said, has introduced a new animal housing statute that will be up for debate in the legislature.
“While we are fighting this in the courts, NPPC is also running around in the country, and we are engaging in all of these states,” Formica said. “They are primarily states where we don’t have pork producers, so that is a challenge to us because we don’t have state staff.”
Formica said an answer from the Supreme Court can most likely be expected by the first quarter of 2023.
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