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Court of Appeals Upholds Constitutionality of California Ballot Measure Preventing Extreme Confinement of Farm Animals

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion today, upholding the constitutionality of Proposition 2, the California ballot measure banning the inhumane confinement of egg-laying hens, breeding pigs and veal calves in cages so small the animals cannot stretch their limbs, lie down or turn around. The decision reaffirms a lower court decision in 2012, which rejected a challenge to the law by disgruntled egg farmer, William Cramer.

In upholding the measure, the Court of Appeals concluded that the requirements of Proposition 2 “can be readily discerned using objective criteria” and that “a person of reasonable intelligence can determine the dimensions of an appropriate confinement that will comply with Proposition 2.”

“We are thrilled that the Court sided with the millions of California voters who supported this measure and chose to end extreme and reckless factory farming practices,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation for The Humane Society of the United States. “Proposition 2 is a simple, basic animal welfare and food safety standard that is easy to understand and we urge egg producers who have not already done so to convert to cage-free production systems as the surest way to comply with the law.”

California’s Proposition 2 was enacted in 2008 by a statewide vote of 63.5 to 36.5 percent. It won in 47 of 58 counties, including in many top agricultural and rural counties. The measure granted producers a phase-in period of more than six years to transition to more humane housing systems and went into effect on January 1, 2015. This case marks the third time that courts have rejected challenges to Proposition 2.

The HSUS was represented in the case pro bono by lawyers in the San Francisco office of Schiff Hardin, LLP, and the HSUS’s animal protection litigation section.


Media Contact: Anna West: 240-751-2669; awest@humanesociety.org