Tuesday was election day, and with it came all sorts of change, both good and bad. Besides voting on representatives, some voters could also decide the fate of ballot measures, such as California’s Proposition 12.
Proposition 12 – also referred to as the Farm Animal Confinement Initiative – calls for all eggs produced or sold in the state of California to be from cage-free laying systems by 2021. The proposition also calls for similar standards for pork and veal.
The official ballot summary is as follows:
- Establishes new minimum space requirements for confining veal calves, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens.
- Requires egg-laying hens be raised in cage-free environment after December 31, 2021.
- Prohibits certain commercial sales of specified meat and egg products derived from animals confined in noncomplying manner.
- Defines sales violations as unfair competition.
- Creates good faith defense for sellers relying upon written certification by suppliers that meat and egg products comply with new confinement standards.
- Requires State of California to issue implementing regulations.
Prop 12 builds on the previous Proposition 2, which took effect in 2015. Proposition 2 stated that eggs must come from birds that are able to stand up, sit down, turn around, and extend their limbs without touching another bird or the side of the cage.
There has been significant pushback from neighboring states. The PICA (Protect Interstate Commerce Act) calls for the end of laws like Proposition 12 on the basis that the laws allow one state to regulate agriculture production practices in other states. Authored by Rep. Steve King, PICA is under consideration for inclusion in the 2018 farm bill.
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