CLIVE, Iowa- A law passed in California in 2018 is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. The new law would allow California to ban the sale of pork products from states that use gestation crates.
California imports almost all of the pork they consume, which is about 14 percent of the total pork eaten in the United States. The National Pork Promotion Board and the American Farm Bureau Federation have filed a lawsuit to prevent the law from passing because they believe the law allows California to govern pork producers in other states, among other issues.
“We have three things, first of all producers are concerned because they feel they do a good job taking care of their pigs with equipment they have and they think they’re in a better position to judge that than anybody else,” said Pat McGonegle, CEO of the Iowa Pork Producers. “You have some producers, who are pretty frustrated that somebody in California can tell them what to do on their farm, and the farmer doesn’t do anything to tell anybody in California what to do, so you have that kind of conflict.”
McGonegle said he thinks that no matter what, Iowa Pork producers always have a way to find their markets.
“This is a tough one and you can see that even with the Supreme Court argument they’re not coming out with a ruling today, tomorrow, it’s going to be a while they’re going to chew on this for a while,” said Dr. Chad Hart, of Iowa State University. “There are a lot of questions to deal with here, because it does walk this fine line between state control over the markets within their own borders, versus the need for businesses to have uniform rules across the country in order to make interstate trade.”
Some view this as an animal rights issue and others look at it in light of interstate commerce. For Iowa hog farmers to comply with California demands, it would cost around 2,000 dollars per pig to convert equipment.