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Bacon Fear-Mongering: Here’s What’s Really Happening with Prop 12 in California

In 2018, California voters achieved incredible progress for farmed animals by passing Prop 12, a ballot measure that outlaws the most extreme forms of animal confinement throughout the Golden State. 

Once implemented, the measure would increase the amount of living space for laying hens, baby calves raised for veal, and mother pigs. Additionally, all eggs, veal, and pork sold in the state would need to come from farms that meet Prop 12 standards.

Now, months before the measure is set to take effect, the pork industry is attempting to instill fear in California consumers by claiming that the state will lose almost all of its pork supply as a result of Prop 12. NPR explains:

At the beginning of next year, California will begin enforcing an animal welfare proposition approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2018 that requires more space for breeding pigs, egg-laying chickens and veal calves. National veal and egg producers are optimistic they can meet the new standards, but only 4% of hog operations now comply with the new rules. 

Although the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) released its first informal version of draft regulations in the summer of 2019—giving the industry two years to prepare for compliance—the pork industry refuses to make the needed changes.

CDFA is tasked with drafting regulations to implement the ballot initiative, and Mercy For Animals has lobbied to ensure that the regulations do not undermine the purpose of the initiative—to prevent cruelty to farmed animals—in favor of meat industry profits.

Especially troubling is that the draft regulations don’t apply Prop 12 standards to all types of pork, such as ground pork. In other words, CDFA would exclude many pigs from protections in the ballot initiative that most voters supported. 

Unsurprisingly, other documents released by CDFA show that the pork industry has been lobbying for years to get pigs exempt from the regulations, enabling the industry to continue cruelly confining pigs with no recourse. 

In response, Mercy For Animals submitted a comment to CDFA stating that regulations must be in line with what 63 percent of Californians voted in favor of: limiting the extremely cruel confinement of hens, calves, and pigs. By reducing the animal products covered under the law, and skirting responsibility to uphold the ballot initiative’s purpose, CDFA has effectively changed the “plain” meaning of the law:

The very stakeholders that directly influenced the CDFA to narrow the scope of products that the proposed regulations cover, defying the plain language of the law, are the corporations that profit from the excluded products.

Read the full comment here.

Mercy For Animals will not stop advocating to protect what voters supported in Proposition 12—to prioritize animal welfare over cost-cutting industry practices. 

Join us! You can lend your voice to these efforts by signing up for our action alerts here.

If you are a California resident, you can contact CDFA to voice your concerns about the proposed regulations, which place profit over animal welfare.