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A Ninth Circuit panel ruled in favor of upholding California’s Proposition 12 which bans intensive confinement of farm animals.

The three-judge panel reaffirmed a district court’s ruling that said California’s farm animal cruelty law does apply to businesses outside California that want to sell their products in the state.

In 2018, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) led the campaign for Prop 12 in California which passed with 63 percent of the vote.

Under Prop 12, the Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act, farmers cannot confine hens, mother pigs, or veal calves in crates and cages so small that the animals cannot even turn around or lay down. Eggs and meat cannot be sold in California unless they are produced under the state’s standards.

The restrictive confinement is not only cruel but also increases public health risks, including a potential outbreak of zoonotic diseases.

The legal team at the HSUS continued to defend the law as fighting off the North American Meat Institute’s request for preliminary injunction against the law in November 2019 as well as attacks from the National Pork Producers Council in December 2019.

The North American Meat Institute, which represents large meat suppliers like Tyson Foods and Butterball, argued the ban created a “trade barrier” that extends beyond the state’s borders, violating the commerce clause.

The Ninth Circuit ruled that Prop 12 does not burden interstate commerce, is not a barrier to trade, and “does not directly regulate extraterritorial conduct,” Courthouse News Service reported.

“We’re pleased that the judicial system has again affirmed that each state has the right to ban the sale of products within its borders produced through cruel factory farming methods,” said Rebecca Cary, senior staff attorney at the Humane Society of the United States. “Rather than continuing to squander their members’ money on losing frivolous lawsuits, the meat industry trade groups should instead invest in improving animal welfare and complying with animal cruelty laws. The Humane Society and our allies will keep fighting in courts, legislatures and corporate boardrooms to stop the horrific practice of locking farm animals in cages so small and cramped they barely move.”

Source: The Humane Society of the United States/Youtube

Read more about gestation crates and where the largest food companies stand on animal welfare issues.

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