Supreme Court Considers California’s Prop 12 Case


California voters passed Proposition 12 in 2018, and the meat lobby has taken its effort to kill the law to the U.S. Supreme Court. California’s ban on selling pigs’ flesh from pork producers that don’t meet Prop 12’s meager improvements to farm conditions would hurt the industry’s wallet.

As the meat industry resists Prop 12’s requirement that pregnant pigs—who under current industry standards can’t turn around or take two steps in gestation crates—be given a small consideration of more space, PETA is appealing to all Americans to take personal responsibility by choosing not to eat pigs, thereby rejecting intensive confinement entirely and not supporting terrifying trips to the slaughterhouse and painful deaths.

What Is Prop 12?

Prop 12 bans the sale of pig flesh from farms that use gestation crates and requires that pigs have slightly larger pens. The law also grants meager increases in space to chickens used for eggs—just 1 square foot per bird—and calves raised for veal.

PETA President Ingrid Newkirk and other animal rights activists protested outside the Supreme Court Building, where the meat industry’s greed is on display as it fights Prop 12, trying to deny pregnant pigs an absurdly small amount of relief from confinement.

Prop 12 Doesn’t Help Animals

If Prop 12 is upheld, mother pigs will no longer legally be confined to gestation crates if the flesh of the piglets is to be sold in California. But the cycle of forced breeding, imprisonment, and death will continue for all pigs in the pork industry. This intensive confinement, loneliness, and deprivation often cause mother pigs to go insane, which is manifested in abnormal, neurotic behavior, such as incessantly chewing the air, biting cage bars, and pressing on water bottles. After three or four years, their bodies are exhausted—even though the animals are still quite young—and they’re shipped off to slaughter. Pigs, who scientists agree are very intelligent, sing to their young while nursing and form close relationships with one another. They deserve to be able to express their natural behavior, not be exploited on farms.

Consumers should also be horrified to know that Prop 12 still allows tens of thousands of hens to be crammed into a single shed and does nothing to prevent routine cruelty, such as grinding up live baby chicks in hatcheries. Birds can be given as little as 1 square foot of floor space each, the same amount that the farming industry already requires for “cage-free” labeling. One study found that up to 86% of hens on “free-range” egg farms may incur broken bones. Chickens are social and like to spend their days together scratching for food, taking dust baths, roosting in trees, and lying in the sun. However, chickens used for food will never get to enjoy these activities.

Prop 12 will mislead consumers into thinking that buying pig flesh or stealing chickens’ eggs is somehow “humane.” The only way to stop the suffering of animals used for food is not to eat them. We’re at a pivotal moment in pushing for animal protection and animal rights. More than ever, PETA and our supporters must advocate for a world in which animals are never confined on factory farms or butchered in slaughterhouses in the first place.


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