Pork Producer on Prop 12 Supreme Court Ruling: ‘We Didn’t Need This’


A big blow was dealt to the American pork industry on Thursday after the Supreme Court upheld California’s Proposition 12, a ballot measure that prohibits the sale of pork, eggs, and veal not produced according to the state’s arbitrary production standards.

“As challenging as times are right now, we certainly didn’t need this,” says Missouri pork producer Scott Hays, president of the National Pork Producers Council.

He and the entire pork industry are trying to figure out what’s next after this years-long legal fight against California’s Prop 12 has come to a disappointing end. Hays says the Supreme Court’s ruling goes beyond pork.

“Basically, what they said was a state can impose their moral standards on another state. Where does that stop?”

Asked what his message is to pork producers following the ruling, Hays responded, “I would encourage them, if they haven’t moved towards a Prop 12 type facility, to really study it. Look at it hard and make sure it fits with what works for their farm operation. I would encourage them to keep their head up. You know, we’ll get through this too.”

Hays says at this point he does not intend to become compliant with California’s Prop 12 provisions.

NPPC CEO Bryan Humphreys echoed Hays sentiments about the resiliency of America’s pork producers in the face of adversity. As for what lies ahead, “At this time, we are evaluating all of our options. There are a number of conversations going on and we’ve seen comments from members of Congress who are just as frustrated by this ruling as we are. And so, at this point, we haven’t ruled anything out, but we also are continuing to evaluate that as we move forward.”

In the 58-page legal document that contained the decision, it summarized that this is a political matter, not a judicial one. One of those many available options is likely an attempt to get Congress to intervene.

In a statement on Friday, Indiana Pork’s Executive Director, Josh Trenary, issued the following statement:

“We are very disappointed with the Supreme Court’s opinion. Misguided regulations generated by one state, but applied nationally, places a strain both on pork farmers and consumers. That being said, the pork industry has dealt with regulatory policy wins and losses for decades. Pork farmers are committed to producing safe, affordable, high quality protein and have always found ways to do so in any regulatory environment. The level of difficulty in accomplishing that goal certainly went up because of this decision, but pork farmers are great at overcoming challenges.”