A coalition of animal protection groups including Animal Outlook have won a fight to uphold California’s historic Proposition 12. This victory comes despite opposition from the North American Meat Institute (NAMI).
The proposition, passed in 2018, supplements prior legislation that prohibits cruel confinement practices for egg-laying hens, pigs, and calves used for veal, as well as the sale of eggs derived from such practices. Proposition 12 provides further protection by imposing additional space requirements and banning the sale of pork and veal in the entire state of California if the product is the result of cruel confinement. We expect Proposition 12’s requirements to go into effect between 2020 and 2022.
Importantly, the sales ban applies to all products sold in the state of California regardless of what state produces them. Meat industry giant NAMI argued that Proposition 12 was unconstitutional, asking for a preliminary injunction. The injunction would block the law until NAMI’s lawsuit against the state of California is resolved, halting the implementation of these vital protections for animals. NAMI’s initial request for an injunction was denied in late 2019. And yesterday, the organization’s claim that the proposition violated the U.S. Constitution was denied again on appeal.
In 2019, the court ruled to allow animal protection groups to intervene as defendants with the state of California. Bruce Wagman of Riley, Safer, Holmes, and Cancila represents the groups.
Outplaying the meat lobby
The meat industry has historically operated with impunity, killing billions of animals per year with little regulation of animal treatment. But this has gone on far too long, and Proposition 12 is evidence that consumers and legislators are putting their foot down when it comes to rampant animal cruelty.
Predictably, NAMI, which represents industry heavyweights like Cargill, JBS and Smithfield Foods, challenged the law. But in October 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the proposition.
Though NAMI argued that the measure was unconstitutional and dictated policies in states outside of California, the court found that restrictions on selling cruelly confined animals in California did not substantially restrict interstate commerce.
Take action for animals
Time is up for the meat industry. Monolithic organizations like NAMI cannot continue torturing animals in the name of profit. Our legal team works with allies every day to hold companies and legislators accountable, and to put animals first.