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What to Know about California’s New Proposition 12 Requirements on Farm Animal Confinement

  • During the November 2018 election, California voters passed a ballot initiative known as Proposition 12, which establishes new standards for confinement of certain farm animals and bans the sale of products that do not comply with the new confinement standards.  The ballot initiative amended an existing California Health and Safety Code section, Chapter 13.9 (“Farm Animal Cruelty”).  The original law imposed minimum space requirements based on animal movement (e.g., ability to fully extend limbs) for calves raised for veal, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens, but the new law establishes minimum square footage requirements for the same farm animals.  The law continues to ban products from animals raised in conditions that do not comply with the law.

  • Existing requirements still apply that prevent confining an animal in a “manner that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending the animal’s limbs, or turning around freely.”  However, Proposition 12 phases in new requirements that over time, as follows:

    • After December 31, 2019, veal calves cannot be confined with less than 43 square feet of usable floorspace per calf, and egg-laying hens cannot be confined with less than 144 square inches of usable floorspace per hen.

After December 31, 2021, breeding pigs cannot be confined with less than 24 square feet of usable floorspace per pig, and egg-laying hens cannot be confined with less than the amount of usable floorspace per hen required by the 2017 edition of the “United Egg Producers’ Animal Husbandry Guidelines for U.S. Egg-Laying Flocks: Guidelines for Cage-Free Housing” or in an enclosure other than a cage-free housing system.

  • Interestingly, animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) did not support Proposition 12, alleging that the law did not go far enough to protect animal welfare.  Even before Proposition 12, California’s Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act had its share of detractors.  As previously reported on this blog, 13 other states are challenging the law before the Supreme Court.
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Keller and Heckman offers global food and drug services to its clients. Our comprehensive and extensive food and drug practice is one of the largest in the world. We promote, protect, and defend products made by the spectrum of industries regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and Member States authorities in the European Union (EU) and similar authorities throughout the world. The products we help get to market include foods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, veterinary products, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. In addition...