Perhaps you’ve noticed your grocery bill increasing over the last several months. Thanks to animal rights activists in California, your food bill may get even worse.
On November 6, 2018, Californians passed Proposition 12, which regulates the products that can be sold in California. Some conditions it specifically includes are minimum cage sizes for hogs and laying hens—cage sizes larger than those utilized by nearly all current Iowa operations. There are also additional regulations on veal production in the measure.
Pork and egg production are huge industries in Iowa, and these new regulations will drastically affect that production. Most operations cannot easily or affordably be outfitted to comply with these new California regulations, which go into effect next year.
California consumes about 12 percent of eggs and 15 percent of pork produced in the U.S. annually, a substantial portion of which come from Iowa. In fact, since Iowa is both the top egg and hog-producing state in the country, Proposition 12 could be a major detriment on these agricultural operations in the state.
Iowa producers have two options: comply with the conditions in Proposition 12, which will likely not be financially feasible for their operations, or lose their ability to sell their products to California, a substantial consumer of Iowa eggs and pork. If farmers do retrofit their operations to comply, prices will have to increase due to vastly increased space requirements for livestock.
Further, who will be ensuring that Iowa farmers wanting to sell in California are complying with the conditions of Proposition 12? Will California regulators soon be headed to Iowa to inspect Iowa producers’ operations?
Before you dismiss any of these concerns as hyperbolic due to the Commerce Clause, just last month the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit declined a petition from the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation to strike down Proposition 12 on the grounds in violates the Commerce Clause. Further, earlier this week, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa dismissed a case brought by the Iowa Pork Producers Association claiming that Proposition 12 harms Iowa producers.
Proposition 12 is a very real threat to Iowa agriculture, and it has the potential to cost all of us more at the grocery store. The idea that another state can regulate Iowa livestock production is horrifying. California should not dictate Iowa food production. Iowa is first in the nation in hog and egg production for a reason: Iowa producers work hard and know what they are doing. Self-righteous animal rights activists in California do not know best when it comes to feeding America, and if nothing is done to block Proposition 12 from going into effect in 2022, we’ll all have a harder time feeding our families thanks to their actions.