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California restaurants and grocery stores have filed a lawsuit to stop the implementation of a new farm animal welfare law.

The proposed law would improve the conditions of breeding pigs, egg-laying chickens, and veal calves, making sure that they have ample space to live in and are treated humanely. The law was voted on and approved in 2018 but has suffered a 3-year delay due to grocers trying to stop it from going into effect.

This new law has faced so much backlash because food retailers worry that it may result in pork products being more expensive or in shorter supply, due to the cost of meeting the law’s requirements. 

Josh Balk, who leads farm animal protection efforts at the Humane Society of the United States, has tried to reassure worried California residents. Although grocers are pushing the fear that there will be no pork available in California under the new law, Balk says that there is no reason for California residents to fear the “pork industry claims of the apocalypse.”

Experts state that the price increase would be much smaller than an earlier projection and there is also enough stored supply to meet demand during the transition.

Pigs are large creatures and are often shoved into small stalls where they can’t even turn around or lay down comfortably. The law would simply outlaw cruel gestation crates, and require that these animals be given living quarters with more space to move around in. While this is not the height of animal welfare as animals will still be raised for slaughter, it’s vital to fight for these improvements until factory farming comes to an end.

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