The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a joint complaint by the National Pork Producers Council and American Farm Bureau Federation challenging California’s Proposition 12.

Approved by California voters in 2018, Prop 12 establishes minimum space requirements for breeding pigs, calves raised for veal and egg-laying hens within the state. It also bans the sale of pork, veal and eggs from animals raised elsewhere if their living conditions don’t meet California’s standards.

National Pork Producers Council and Farm Bureau sued the California Department of Food and Agriculture on the grounds that Prop 12 violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution by disrupting interstate trade.

They argued the measure compels out-of-state producers to change their operations to meet California’s standard, impermissibly regulating extraterritorial conduct.

The court disagreed, saying Prop 12 does not dictate the price of product and does not tie the price of in-state products to out-of-state prices and does not violate the underlying principles of the Commerce Clause.

The court recognized the measure could have an indirect effect on how pork is produced and sold outside California but held that such upstream effects don’t violate the Commerce Clause.

National Pork Producers Council states it is disappointed in the decision and is evaluating it and the organization’s next steps.

Sign up for our Top Stories newsletter

Recommended for you