Judge dismisses Iowa lawsuit over California pork regulations

By: - August 25, 2021 7:52 pm

A federal judge has ruled against Iowa pork producers in their challenge of a California state law restricting the sale of pork in that state. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit from the Iowa Pork Producers Association that challenged a California state law restricting the sale of pork in that state.

California’s Proposition 12 is a 2018 law that bars the sale of pork derived from breeding facilities that fail to allow a certain amount of space for each animal. The law goes into effect in January 2022.

Iowa politicians and pork producers have condemned the law, claiming it will disproportionately affect Iowa and create unrealistic expectations for hog confinement. Iowa produces nearly one-third of America’s hogs.

U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams ruled this week that the case could not be considered in an Iowa court and that the California law does not specifically target Iowa producers.

“The decision is not what we were hoping for,” said Eldon McAfee, lawyer for the Iowa Pork Producers Association. “The court ruled not on the substance of the lawsuit … The court ruled on a preliminary matter.”

McAfee said the Iowa Pork Producers Association is still evaluating potential next steps to challenge Proposition 12.

“These requirements proposed by Proposition 12, we don’t believe are science-based,” McAfee said. “That’s the real difficult part for our producers.”

Republican congressional lawmakers have challenged Proposition 12, introducing federal legislation that would prohibit state governments from regulating agricultural goods produced in other states. None of the bills have passed so far.

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Reporter Katie Akin began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.

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