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AG Schmidt urges U.S. Supreme Court to strike down California’s attempt to regulate animal agriculture in Kansas and other states

Release Date: Jun 27, 2022

TOPEKA – (June 27, 2022) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down California’s attempt to regulate animal agriculture outside its borders.

Schmidt last week joined attorneys general from 25 other states in supporting the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation in seeking review by the U.S. Supreme Court of a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit that upheld the California law.

The California law, passed by voters in 2018, contains two operative provisions regulating animal confinement. The first provision regulates the manner in which California’s own producers may confine calves raised for veal, breeding pigs and egg-laying hens. A second provision prohibits the sale in California of any veal, pork or eggs produced from animals not raised in accordance with the state’s animal-confinement regulations, regardless of where those animals were raised. Those rules would also permit California officials to conduct on-site inspections of farming operations in other states and impose onerous record-keeping requirements on out-of-state producers.

The attorneys general argue in the brief that the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause prohibits California’s attempt to usurp other states’ authority to adopt their own animal-husbandry policies by extending California’s animal-confinement regulations to every livestock producer in the United States.

“California’s Proposition 12 is a paradigm of unconstitutional extraterritorial regulation: It requires hog, chicken, and veal-calf farmers in every State to follow California’s animal-confinement rules on pain of exclusion from the California market,” the attorneys general wrote. "Since most of California’s meat comes from out-of-state, Proposition 12 necessarily regulates not only California grocers, but also the economic actions and transactions of farmers, slaughterers, meat packers, shippers, and wholesalers in other States.”

A copy of the amicus brief in National Pork Producers Council v. Karen Ross is available at https://bit.ly/3NiTRdM.

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