Whatever doubt there may have been before, the situation is now crystal clear. The battle over California’s Proposition 12 and the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act (or some other approach to blocking Proposition 12 through the Farm Bill) has been joined, and we’re in the thick of it. 

Considered the nation’s strongest farm animal protection law, Proposition 12 requires that pregnant pigs, egg-laying hens and calves raised for veal in California be given at least enough space to stand up, turn around and extend their limbs, and access to a minimum amount of usable floor space. The law, which was approved by voters in California with 63% voting in favor, also prohibits the sale in California of pork, eggs and veal from animals kept in extreme confinement not meeting those basic standards. In May 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law

And yet, lobbyists from big agribusiness are now trying to gut California’s landmark law concerning public health and animal welfare, and to nullify the Supreme Court decision. The political efforts to undermine the law have reached a new and dangerous level. And to be clear, it’s not just California but 14 other red, blue and purple states that have similar laws.

The most ominous sign came with the closing remarks of Rep. GT Thompson, R-Pa., at a congressional hearing on American agriculture this week. As chair of the House Committee on Agriculture, in aggressive comments concerning Proposition 12 on Wednesday, Thompson expressed his absolute determination to “fix the problem” via the Farm Bill, a five-year legislative roadmap for how food is produced across the country.