Meat industry sues California for animal protection 'overreach'

This post was originally published on this site
© Reuters. Meat industry sues California for animal protection 'overreach'© Reuters. Meat industry sues California for animal protection ‘overreach’

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) – California was sued on Friday by the largest U.S. trade group for meat packers and processors, which wants to block enforcement of a voter-approved measure requiring farmers to provide more space for animals being raised for food.

The North American Meat Institute, whose members include processors such as Tyson Foods (NYSE:) and retailers including Walmart (NYSE:), said enforcing Proposition 12 would hurt producers and consumers by significantly increasing their costs.

It also said the measure, which passed last November with 63% of the vote, was an “overreach” that violated the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause by requiring out-of-state producers to comply with California’s rules or face a sales ban.

“Prop 12 hurts the family on a budget with higher prices for pork, veal and eggs, and unfairly punishes livestock producers outside of California by forcing them to spend millions more just to access California markets,” Meat Institute President Julie Anna Potts said in a statement.

Spokesmen for California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for the state’s Department of Public Health declined to comment.

In its complaint filed in Los Angeles federal court, the Meat Institute is seeking an injunction against the sales ban targeting out-of-state veal and pork.

The group’s more than 700 members also include packers and processors such as Cargill, JBS USA, Smithfield Foods and Wegmans, as well as Chipotle, Target (NYSE:) and Amazon (NASDAQ:).com’s Whole Foods.

Proposition 12, or the Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act, sets minimum space requirements for calves raised for veal, breeding pigs and egg-laying hens, and bans the sale of raw veal, pork or eggs from animals enclosed in too little space.

Calves must have 43 square feet (4 square meters) of floor space by 2020, pigs must have 24 square feet by 2022, and hens must have one square foot by 2020 and be “cage-free” by 2022.

Proponents said the measure would phase out extreme means of confining animals.

Animal rights groups were split. The Humane Society of the United States backed the measure, while People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals opposed it, saying it did not go far enough.

The case is North American Meat Institute v. Becerra et al, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 19-08569.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.