Nix the Prop 12 “Fix”

WASHINGTON (April 10, 2024)—As the National Pork Producers Council takes its anti-animal welfare case to Capitol Hill, the Humane Society Legislative Fund warns against inserting language into the Farm Bill that would invalidate California’s Proposition 12, a state law setting landmark prohibitions on the sale of food products from farm animals locked in cruel and extreme confinement, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld as constitutional in May 2023. Congressional opponents and the pork industry’s lobbyists have been pushing for a so-called “Prop 12 fix.”

“The National Pork Producers Council and other laggards in the pork industry are peddling a false narrative about Proposition 12 and similar laws passed in 14 other states, but major producers around the country have willingly and successfully transitioned to the new standards. Having lost in the highest court of the land, the defenders of cruel intensive confinement of pigs and other animals are now pushing reckless language which strives to invalidate Proposition 12 and other laws regulating sales of products within individual states,” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “The backers of these measures are seeking preferential treatment for pork producers and others who want bottom-of-the barrel animal welfare standards, or no standards at all. Congress shouldn’t be fixing what isn’t broken. Americans who care about states’ rights to legislate animal welfare should be calling their representatives to say, ‘nix the Prop 12 fix.’”

While the pork industry claims there are negative impacts from Proposition 12 on the supply of pork and the economy, The Wall Street Journal recently reported that it is actually facing a problem of oversupply with not enough demand. In addition, a March hog margin report from the Commodity & Ingredient Hedging risk management firm suggests that while “increased pork production and the impact of California’s [Proposition] 12 restrictions taking effect were expected to exert a negative impact on prices ... that has not happened so far in Q1 as pork remains competitive relative to chicken and beef.” Blaming Proposition 12—or other state laws addressing farm animal welfare—is a calculated attempt to direct attention away from the pork industry’s significant control over 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 Proposition 12. Pork lobbyists have since doubled down on pushing Congress to incorporate into the next Farm Bill legislation to invalidate Proposition 12 and many other laws regulating sales of products within individual states, stirring strong controversy. A diverse set of more than 5,000 entities have publicly stated opposition to this kind of legislation, including Members of Congress (a bipartisan group of 30 Senators and 193 Representatives), nearly 200 organizations ranging from FreedomWorks to the Sierra Club, hundreds of veterinarians and almost 4,000 farms across 32 states.

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.

Eliminating laws like Proposition 12 would harm U.S. farmers who have relied on these state laws, made substantial investments to meet consumer demand for more humanely raised food, and are now seeing the benefits of their commitment.

Major pork producers, restaurants and grocery stores, including Albertsons, Chipotle and Niman Ranch, have already transitioned to be compliant with Proposition 12. In addition, many pork producers have already moved away from gestation crates and are currently supplying the California market. Moreover, sector-leading companies like Hormel Foods, Clemens Food Group, Perdue, DuBreton farms and Tyson Foods have declared with confidence their ability and willingness to meet the demand for crate-free pork produced in accordance with Proposition 12 standards. In a brief that Perdue submitted to the Supreme Court, the company noted that “the market has shifted to create strong demand for pork that is farmed humanely and without cruelty. Proposition 12 reflects that shift in consumer preferences.” Both the Clemens Food Group and Niman Ranch have been outspoken in their support for Proposition 12 and have invested heavily in raising sows crate-free.

Download photos and videos of the extreme confinement known as gestation crates here.

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