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North American Meat Institute to Supreme Court: Prop 12 Not Beneficial to Consumers & Increases Sow Mortality

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC – The North American Meat Institute (the Meat Institute) today said the State of California’s Proposition 12 (Prop 12 or the law) provides no benefit to consumers and increases breeding sow mortality according to the State’s own proposed rule.

“The recently proposed rule by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) admits there are no benefits to Californians as a result of Prop 12. CDFA admits deaths of breeding sows will increase. Both are unintentional consequences of a costly and unconstitutional law,” said Julie Anna Potts, President and CEO of the North American Meat Institute. “Our petition to challenge the law has the support of more than 20 states and we think it should be reviewed by the Supreme Court.”

CDFA released the proposed rule, originally due in September of 2019, late last month.

The following are key findings in the notice published along with the proposed rule:

The text of the notice and proposed rule can be found here.

The Meat Institute made the remarks in a reply brief in support of its petition to the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and in response to the defendants’ previously submitted briefs.

In addition, the reply brief said the Ninth Circuit’s decision to uphold California’s unconstitutional and costly Proposition 12 directly conflicts with legal precedent in other circuits and the Supreme Court itself, making it the perfect vehicle to consider extraterritoriality. The reply brief can be found here.

In February, the Meat Institute filed a petition for a writ of certiorari asking the Supreme Court to review an earlier ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the Meat Institute’s challenge to the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 12: The Farm Animal Confinement Initiative. The Meat Institute opposes the law because it is unconstitutional and will hurt the nation’s food value chain by significantly increasing costs for producers and consumers. The petition may be found here, appendix here.

In March, 20 state attorneys general filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court supporting the petition.

The question is whether the U.S. Constitution permits California to extend its police power beyond its territorial borders by banning the sale of wholesome pork and veal products sold into California unless out-of-state farmers restructure their facilities to meet animal-confinement standards dictated by California.

The Meat Institute urged the Court to grant review because the “Ninth Circuit’s decision conflicts with the decisions of other federal courts of appeals on the question whether the Constitution limits a State’s ability to extend its police power beyond its territorial borders through a trade barrier dictating production standards in other States and countries.” Allowing Prop 12 to stand “insulates in-state farmers from out-of-state competition, while imposing crushing burdens on out-of-state farmers and producers who have no political voice to shape the regulations that California has unilaterally determined to foist upon their operations outside of California.”

The North American Meat Institute is the leading voice for the meat and poultry industry. The Meat Institute’s members process the vast majority of U.S. beef, pork, lamb, and poultry, as well as manufacture the equipment and ingredients needed to produce the safest and highest quality meat and poultry products.

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