Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is back talking with the Animal Agriculture Alliance president and CEO, Hannah Thompson-Weeman, about the Supreme Court ruling to uphold California’s Proposition 12, which mandates a wide array of animal production standards and would specifically ban the in-state sale of pork from hogs not raised in accordance with the California law, even if those hogs were raised in other states.
“Thus far, beef cattle have not been impacted by most of these ballot initiative campaigns,” Thompson-Weeman said. “They have been focused on chickens, egg-laying hens, pork, and then veal.”
While there have not been ballot initiatives targeting beef at a major level yet, Thompson-Weeman said beef has been included in some legislation aimed at other parts of animal agriculture, such as the use of Artificial Insemination.
“Certainly, it would be a false sense of security to think that beef isn’t going to be impacted by these types of campaigns,” Thompson-Weeman said.
Now is the time, Thompson-Weeman said, for the beef community to come together and be proactive about how to handle these ballot initiatives when they do come.
While the Animal Agriculture Alliance does not lobby, Thompson-Weeman said, they do very close tabs on legislation and the way those decisions impact producers.
“Proposition 12 has been a major priority for a lot of our members, and it is a great example of these ballot initiatives campaigns that animal rights extremist organizations put forth with the sole intention of capitalizing on emotions and oversimplifying a very important issue of animal welfare as a means to an end, which for them is raising the cost of meat, poultry, dairy, and egg so that consumers have to make tough choices at the grocery store,” Thompson-Weeman said.
Upholding Proposition 12, Thompson-Weeman said, is going to make food production more difficult, less efficient, and will drive up costs for California residents to purchase pork, primarily.
“California consumes 13 percent of U.S. pork, but they raise far less than one percent, so it is exactly a perfect storm for these types of campaigns where you don’t have a lot of the industry in question,” Thompson-Weeman said. “A lot of consumers aren’t familiar with the industry in question, so when they are asked to weigh in on a very simplified topic, especially an emotional one like animal welfare on the ballot, they don’t necessarily know what the science is behind the issue.”
Unfortunately, Thompson-Weeman said the Supreme Court’s decision to let Proposition 12 stand is only going to give animal rights organizations encouragement to create more initiatives that will impact producers all over the U.S.
“We are only going to see more legislative campaigns that are going to continue to impact producers, again with the end goal of driving up costs, making production less efficient, in hope that is going to lead consumers to make other choices,” Thompson-Weeman.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.