A federal judge has rejected an attempt by the factory farming industry to overturn a landmark California law that’s the strongest farm animal protection law in the world.
The lawsuit dismissed yesterday by Judge Thomas Whelan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California was filed by lobbyists for the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation. It was nearly identical to a lawsuit brought by another industry group, the North American Meat Institute, which represents industrial pork and veal factory farms. Last November, we and our allies defeated that group’s attempt to halt California’s law from going into effect.
California’s law bans the extreme cage confinement of egg-laying hens, mother pigs and veal calves within the state. It also bans the sale of products from these abused animals within California, no matter where the eggs, pork and veal were produced. The Humane Society of the United States and our allies conceived and successfully put this measure on the state’s ballot in 2018 (as Proposition 12), and it passed with a nearly two-thirds majority in the state.
The law has resulted in a revolution in the treatment of egg laying hens. Largely as a result of Prop. 12, laws like it and consumer demand, egg producers are rushing to convert to cage-free facilities, guaranteeing that tens of millions of animals will never know the misery of cage confinement.
Other states have also moved to ban cage confinement in recent years. In 2016, Massachusetts citizens overwhelmingly approved Question 3, which largely mirrors Prop 12. Last year, we secured groundbreaking cage-free laws in Oregon, Washington and Michigan. And in the private sector, more than 200 companies have agreed to stop sourcing eggs and/or pork derived from extreme confinement systems.
But instead of encouraging producers to change with the times, the factory farming industry is asking them to spend their money on frivolous lawsuits that have little chance of success. They should recognize by now that the writing is on the wall: the public is demanding cage-free reform, and lawmakers and businesses are rushing to comply. There are fewer takers than ever before for the cruel and archaic factory farming practices of the past.