With a lawsuit still unresolved, Massachusetts officials agreed in court to wait until Aug. 23 to enforce a state law that requires farmers to provide enough room for veal calves, breeding sows, and egg-laying hens to stand up, lie down, turn around or fully extend their limbs.
“The parties require additional time to determine what, if any, issues remain” after the Supreme Court ruled in May that a similar California law, Proposition 12, was constitutional, said state officials, the restaurant industry and the pork industry in a joint statement in court.
U.S. district judge Margaret Guzman approved the request last week for additional time, until Aug 23, for consultations and to see if a settlement could be negotiated. Like the lawsuit that went to the Supreme Court, the Massachusetts case said the animal welfare standards mandated by a voter-approved 2016 referendum, Question 3, were unconstitutional. Enforcement has been delayed while the Supreme Court case was pending.
The National Pork Producers Council said Massachusetts was free under the Supreme Court decision to set production standards for meat sold in the state. “Other issues…such as restrictions on the trans-shipment of pork products through Massachusetts to other New England states (as well as export) were still left to be worked out,” it said.
Along with setting standards for Massachusetts farmers, Question 3 barred the sale of products from other states unless they complied with Massachusetts rules. Question 3 poses an additional barrier to the pork supply chain in New England by barring shipment of noncompliant pork through the state for delivery elsewhere, said the Pork Council.
For more information: https://thefern.org/ag_insider/