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In a huge win for animal activists, the Supreme Court backed a California animal cruelty law that requires more space for breeding pigs. The pork industry says that this will lead to higher costs nationwide for their animal products, but the supreme court luckily had the backs of the animals.

Source: The Humane Society/Youtube

The court case involved California’s Proposition 12, which voters passed in 2018, which said that pork sold in the state needs to come from pigs whose mothers were raised with at least 24 square feet of space. It also said that the mothers needed to have the ability to lie down and turn around. These rules make the use of “gestation crates” impossible for the industry to use in California.

Gestation crates, also known as sow stalls, are individual metal cages used in the commercial pig farming industry to confine pregnant sows (female pigs) during their gestation period. These crates are typically just big enough to allow the sow to stand up, lie down, and take a few steps forward or backward but not to turn around.

The American Farm Bureau Federation and the Iowa-based National Pork Producers Council sued and said that nearly all of the pork that Californians consume comes from other states, including Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, and North Carolina. Unfortunately, most sows are not raised in conditions that would meet Proposition 12′s standards.

Pork producers argued that most farmers use gestation crates that do not allow the animals to turn around and that farmers who house sows in larger groups don’t provide the space that California would require. The pork industry says that because of the way that the pork market works and since the cuts of meat from various producers are combined before being sold, these would all have to meet California standards regardless of where it is sold. They say that complying with Proposition 12 could cost the industry $290 million to $350 million.

In Defense of Animals applauds the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold California’s Prop 12, which has been hailed as the strongest farmed animal welfare law in the nation.

“This is a historic and monumental moment for the Animal rights movement that we and our supporters were hoping for,” says Katie Nolan of In Defense of Animals. “This ruling not only ensures that flesh from confined pigs will not be sold in California, which is the world’s fifth largest economy, but it will have a ripple effect, forcing factory farms across the country to rethink their models. Prop 12 brings national attention to the way pigs and other farmed animals are confined and abused in the systems we humans have developed. The ruling leads the way for other states and consumers across the country to take a stand against the inherent injustices found in industrial-scale animal agriculture.”

While the industry continues to whine that the law will lead to higher costs for farmers and consumers, hopefully, this will encourage people to turn toward a plant-based diet. It will improve animal welfare and food safety, but we still have a long way to go.

There is no such thing as ethical meat, and there is no way of knowing how the animals have been treated before they reach your plate. The most ethical option is to ditch meat and other animal products entirely and go vegan.

Sign this petition to stop laws that make it possible to hide animal suffering at factory farms!

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