Prop 12 lies aired at Senate Agriculture Committee Hearing

Prop 12 lies aired at Senate Agriculture Committee Hearing

WASHINGTON (Feb. 28, 2024)—During today’s Senate Agriculture Committee hearing with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the debunked claims of pork lobbyists that Prop 12 will negatively impact the economy were on full display.

“The pork lobby wants to frame this as California vs. the rest of the country, but there are 15 states including Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Ohio and Utah that have bans on extreme confinement of farm animals—proving that animal welfare is not a partisan issue,” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “The writing is on the stall: Americans across the country are rejecting the abject cruelty and public health risks of these archaic production systems. Plenty of pork producers large and small are already meeting the demand for crate-free pork. Notwithstanding comments at today’s hearing implying that problems in the pork industry are the result of California’s law, as the Wall Street Journal recently reported, the pork industry overall has a flood of oversupply. It’s hard to take seriously any claim that Prop 12 could be responsible for increased pork costs against the backdrop of big producers repeatedly settling lawsuits for conspiring to fix prices.”

Prop 12 passed with the approval of nearly two thirds of California voters in the 2018 elections. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the pork industry is facing a problem of oversupply with not enough demand. Blaming Prop 12— or other state laws addressing farm animal welfare—is a convenient excuse for an industry facing pre-existing challenges. The pork industry has significant control in supply and pricing. The industry has repeatedly been sued and entered into settlements of over $75 million in the last year alone for conspiring to fix prices.

In May 2023, the Supreme Court rejected the pork lobby’s challenge to Prop 12. Pork lobbyists have since doubled down on pushing Congress to incorporate into the next Farm Bill the “Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression” (EATS) Act (H.R. 4417 and S. 2019) or related legislation to invalidate Prop 12 and many other laws regulating commerce within individual states, stirring strong controversy. A diverse set of more than 4,500 entities have publicly stated opposition to the EATS Act and any related legislation, including bipartisan Members of Congress (30 Senators and 185 Representatives), nearly 200 organizations ranging from the Sierra Club to FreedomWorks, hundreds of veterinarians and over 3,300 farms across the country.

There are 15 states with laws regarding intensive confinement of farm animals that could be negated by the EATS Act. These states span the political spectrum. In addition, 80% of American voters—including nearly equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats—support enactment in their own states of a law to protect farm animals from a life of being confined in a small cage. Eliminating laws like Prop 12 would harm U.S. farmers who have relied on these state laws and invested in innovating to meet consumer demand for more humanely raised food.

Media contact:   
Kate Sarna: 202-836-1265;