On October 11th at the Supreme Court, America’s pork farmers will stand trial.
The formal question before the justices will be the constitutionality of California’s 2018 initiative-passed Proposition 12. If the farmers lose, a state will be allowed to enforce a regulation on out-of-state production methods. Historically, states could regulate only the character and quality of products made elsewhere (via product safety standards, for example), not the means of making them.
But alongside the constitutional question will be public judgment on the morality of American pig farming. The case arose because accusers skillful in modern media but ignorant of modern pig farming charged U.S. pig farmers with cruelty to their animals. Prop 12 bans in-state sale of pork from pigs born anywhere to sows housed in so-called “gestation crates” (protective pens) that don’t meet California space specifications, which almost none in the nation do. It ignores that other states – such as Ohio – have other rules, some in conflict with California’s.
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