Keep Food Affordable

The Situation

Since the early 2000s, animal rights groups have attacked the production methods of U.S. pork producers by championing state ballot initiatives and legislation that seek to ban certain production practices. As a result, nine states have banned production practices used widely throughout the pork industry. Massachusetts has taken it a step further by prohibiting the sale of pork produced using certain production methods, even when produced in states other than Massachusetts. An initiative to prohibit the sale in California of out-of-state pork produced using conventional production methods will be on the state’s ballot this November. Attorneys general for several states are suing both states. A producer’s ability to choose the production method that maximizes productivity, increases sustainability, reduces disease exposure and improves the health and welfare of his or her animals is critical to the pork industry’s success. This freedom has been jeopardized by recent state prohibitions on scientifically-sound production methods. These state mandates raise food costs while reducing consumer choices.

NPPC's Position

A state law or regulation that has the effect of prohibiting other states’ production practices is in clear violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause and is illegal.

Fast Facts

Cost of converting sow barns from gestation pens to group pens:

  • Cost to the U.S. pork industry: Between $1.9 billion and $3.2+ billion, according to the University of Minnesota
  • Cost to consumers: $5 billion

Cost of California ban on battery cages for laying hens:

  • Cost to consumers: Price of a dozen eggs increased by $0.49, according to Cornell University
  • The most vulnerable and poorest households in the state are most affected by higher food prices