California’s Proposition 12 took effect on Jan. 1, 2022. As you know from reading this blog these past four years, the law says anyone who wants to sell pork to California’s consumers must abide by that state’s arbitrary, non-scientific livestock housing requirements, passed overwhelmingly by California voters some four years ago. As of Sunday all the pork sold in California must come from sows that have at least 24 square feet of usable floor space. The new law states, “Enclosures must be sufficiently large enough to allow sows to turn around without touching the sides of the enclosure.” California will send inspectors out to your farm to ensure your livestock buildings meet Prop 12’s space requirements.
The Supreme Court so far has not stepped in, despite clear signals that this is a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause. Neither has Congress. And what about USDA? A letter was written to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on May 27, 2021, begging him to get involved in the Proposition 12 controversy. He has remained silent.
The letter included a report produced by North Carolina State economist Dr. Barry K. Goodwin, “California’s Proposition 12 and Its Impact On the Pork Industry.” The study finds that construction costs for a new 5,200-sow operation that meets the California requirements would be $15.6 million,