Supreme Court rejects challenge to California pork law
Legal Business | 2023/05/12 23:55

The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a challenge to a California animal cruelty law that affects the pork industry, ruling that the case was properly dismissed by lower courts. Pork producers had said that the law could force industry-wide changes and raise the cost of bacon and other pork products nationwide.

California’s law requires more space for breeding pigs, and producers say it would force the $26 billion-a-year industry to change its practices even though pork is produced almost entirely outside California.

The justices upheld lower court rulings dismissing the pork producers’ case.

During arguments in the case in October, liberal and conservative justices underscored the potential reach of the case. Some worried whether greenlighting the animal cruelty law would give state legislators a license to pass laws targeting practices they disapprove of, such as a law that says a product cannot be sold in the state if workers who made it are not vaccinated or are not in the country legally. They also worried about the reverse: How many state laws would be called into question if California’s law were not permitted?

California’s law requires more space for breeding pigs, and producers say it would force the $26 billion-a-year industry to change its practices even though pork is produced almost entirely outside California.

The justices upheld lower court rulings dismissing the pork producers’ case.

During arguments in the case in October, liberal and conservative justices underscored the potential reach of the case. Some worried whether greenlighting the animal cruelty law would give state legislators a license to pass laws targeting practices they disapprove of, such as a law that says a product cannot be sold in the state if workers who made it are not vaccinated or are not in the country legally. They also worried about the reverse: How many state laws would be called into question if California’s law were not permitted?

The case before the court involved California’s Proposition 12, which voters passed in 2018. It said that pork sold in the state needs to come from pigs whose mothers were raised with at least 24 square feet of space, with the ability to lie down and turn around. That rules out confined “gestation crates,” metal enclosures that are common in the pork industry.



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