Pork Industry Pals Try to Torpedo Prop 12

In May, the US Supreme Court upheld California’s ban on certain forms of extreme confinement for farmed animals in California and the in-state sale of eggs and meat from facilities anywhere that use such methods. Seeking to thwart this animal welfare victory, Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA) and Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) have introduced the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act (HR 4417/S 2019)—designed to prohibit state and local governments from banning the sale of agriculture products within their borders based on “preharvest production” methods (e.g., gestation crates for pregnant sows, battery cages for egg-laying hens, and veal crates). Hinson’s state, Iowa, is far and away the top pork-producing state.

EATS Act ramifications would extend beyond animal welfare protections. State laws that address any aspect of preharvest production—including pesticide use, pollution standards, and even child labor—could potentially be nullified. During the two previous Farm Bill cycles, former representative Steve King (R-IA) tried to attach similar language to omnibus bills but met with bipartisan opposition. Hopefully, the EATS Act proves similarly unpalatable to legislators on both sides of the aisle.

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