TOPEKA – (October 6, 2020) – California’s attempt to regulate animal agriculture outside its borders is an unconstitutional barrier to interstate commerce and will harm Kansas agriculture, Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.
Schmidt joined attorneys general from 19 other states in supporting the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation in their legal challenge to a 2018 California law enacted by a ballot initiative led by animal rights activists. The law is scheduled to take effect in 2022 and would prohibit the sale in California of any veal, pork, or eggs produced from animals not raised in accordance with that state's rules, regardless of where the animals were raised. Those rules, among other things, would permit California officials to conduct on-site inspections of farming operations in other states and impose onerous record-keeping requirements.
“Proposition 12 requires farmers across the country to raise their veal calves, hogs, and hens according to California’s animal-confinement standards—or else be forced out of the California market altogether," Schmidt and the other attorneys general wrote in the brief filed last week. "In doing so, it attempts to establish a national animal husbandry policy, frustrates a multi-billion-dollar inter-state industry, and unconstitutionally interferes with the autonomy of the States to regulate agriculture within their borders. California’s rules are a substantial departure from current practices in most states. The Commerce Clause does not permit California to upset those practices by setting a single, nationwide animal confinement policy.”
In April, a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California dismissed the challenge to the California law, leading the plaintiffs to appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
A copy of the amicus brief in National Pork Producers Council & American Farm Bureau Federation v. Karen Ross, et al. & Animal Legal Defense Fund, et al., No. 20-55631 can be found at https://bit.ly/2GoIm8a.