Hog farmers and pork processors are collaborating to combat Massachusetts Question 3 (Q3) in U.S. District Court. Q3 was a 2016 ballot initiative implementing the “Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act” and predates California’s Proposition 12 (Prop 12) by two years. It has met stiff resistance from the pork industry.
Like Prop 12, the Massachusetts ballot measure dictates the space for housing egg-laying hens, veal calves, and gestating sows. Meat and eggs from animals raised in non-compliant housing became illegal to sell in Massachusetts when Q3 went into effect. Another similarity to California is the fact that only a small percentage of the pork, eggs, and veal consumed in Massachusetts is produced in the state.
Concerns for food transportation and access
Q3 is complex, as pork raised in non-compliant facilities is allowed to enter the state but cannot be legally sold in Massachusetts. If a truck from another state passes through Massachusetts, it does not violate Q3. However, warehousing and distributing pork products from Massachusetts to other states in the region is problematic under Q3.
National Pork Producers Council’s (NPPC) Chief Legal Strategist Michael Formica explains in a Pork Business article:
“For example, if you had a truck filled with pork that was shipped from North Carolina on Interstate 95, and it never stopped in Massachusetts and went to Maine,