BREAKING NEWS: Judge rejects meat lobby attempt to block California’s landmark farm animal protection law
A California judge has rejected an attempt by the meat lobby to stop Proposition 12, the state’s historic law that would ban the extreme cage confinement of egg-laying hens, mother pigs and baby veal calves, from going into effect.
This is an important win for farm animals: Prop 12 has been called the world’s strongest farm animal law, and in addition to banning cruel cages in California, it also prohibits the sales of products that come from these abused animals, no matter where the eggs, pork and veal were produced.
Sixty-three percent of Californian voters passed Prop 12 in 2018, but the North American Meat Institute — despite such overwhelming support for this commonsense measure — requested a preliminary injunction to stop its implementation. The lobby group claimed the law interferes with interstate commerce in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Judge Christina Snyder of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California disagreed.
The court also granted a motion from the Humane Society of the United States and our coalition partners (including Animal Legal Defense Fund, Farm Sanctuary, Compassion in World Farming USA, Compassion Over Killing, Animal Equality and the Humane League) to intervene in the case to protect the law.
Today’s ruling does not end this case, but it is encouraging and further proof for agribusiness lobby groups that they cannot expect to have an ally in the courts after citizens have made it clear, with their vote, that they do not support cruel cages for farm animals. Our legal team has, in fact, beaten each and every attempt by Big Ag to overturn a farm animal confinement law.
On the other hand, the momentum to pass laws ending cage confinement has gathered unprecedented steam. In 2016, Massachusetts citizens voted for a ballot measure that we and our partners successfully campaigned for, to protect egg-laying hens, mother pigs, and calves raised for veal, and to prevent products from cruelly confined animals from entering the state’s market. This year, the HSUS and our coalition partners have already secured groundbreaking laws in Oregon, Washington and Michigan that will free tens of millions of chickens from cages.
Some forward-thinking people in the agribusiness industry have supported our efforts and these laws. But others, including the North American Meat Institute, which represents industrial pork and veal factory farms and has deep pockets, continue to fight them. This was the first time Prop 12 was challenged in court, and we know there will be more such lawsuits in coming months and years from the meat lobby trying to halt or reverse progress for animals. But the movement toward cage-free is unstoppable, and with the consumers on our side, our work to pass more ballot measures and laws ending cage confinement – and to stop those who oppose giving farm animals even a modicum of comfort in their short lives — will continue.