Controversial Bacon Law in California Being Fought Against By Local Restaurants and Grocers

by Hannah Heser

An alliance with California restaurants and grocery stores files a lawsuit to block execution of a new farm animal law. This adds uncertainty for whether bacon and other fresh farm products will be more in value or in short supply. The rules will be in effect on New Year’s Day

This lawsuit is the newest step in a three-year process of validating rules while waiting for the voters approval. But, it remains in question when the law starts.

For instance, a report from November 2018 shows voters approving Proposition 12 by a 2-to-1 ratio. However, officials are missing deadlines for specific regulations covering the humane treatement of animals that provide meat for the California market.

Most hog producers are not changing the law, yet. But now an association of business owners is seeking more than a two-year delay.

Nate Rose, a spokesperson for the California Grocers Association says, “We’re saying this is not going to work.”

And many people are still asking, “Will this work?”

Controversial Bacon Law Changes Might Potentially Work

While some groups are working to delay the procedure, the state is easing the transition to the new system. California is expecting the pork to process under the old rules.

Meanwhile, Josh Balk, leader of farm animal protection efforts at the Humane Society, says California residents do not need to fear. “Pork industry claims of the apocalypse,” he adds.

In short, the law requires that breeding pigs, egg-laying chickens, and vealing calves has enough space to stand and turn around. At last, pigs can no longer stay in narrow crates, and must have 24 square feet of functional space.

While pigs are getting a larger space, producers of eggs and veal appear to meet the new law. But, hog farmers are arguing the changes. They think it is too expensive and cannot carry out until the state approves final regulations for the new standards.

Furthermore, an estimate from North Carolina State University says the new standard will cost about 15% more per animal for a farm with 1,000 breeding pigs.

The National Pork Producers Council is challenging California’s right to impose these standards on businesses in other states. But these efforts are failing so far.

Why California?

You might ask, “Why is this taking place in California?”

Well, California is the largest market for pork. Producers in major swine states, such as Iowa provide more than 80% of the 255 million pounds that California restaurants and grocery stores use each month. It’s a larger state than most, so they’re going to go through more supply faster.

Without this supply, it is unclear that it will have all the meat it demands.

The North American Meat Institute says packers and processors are doing the best they can to serve the California market.

This story is an update for an accurate amount of pork in California, as well as in cold storage.