In the most important farm animal welfare debate of the 21st century so far―the U.S. Supreme Court case regarding California’s Proposition 12—it was beyond disconcerting that the Biden administration put itself on the wrong side of progress by backing the advocates of cruelty and bottom-of-the-barrel pork production. The producers fighting Proposition 12 are trying to maintain the status quo of using intensive confinement systems such as gestation crates—metal cages so small pregnant pigs can’t even turn around for months on end and have been documented chewing on the bars until their mouths bleed from constant frustration. Those who don't feel like meeting the public’s demand for more humane treatment of farm animals are fighting Proposition 12 every way they can.  

Now, the Biden administration’s failure is being compounded by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who is out stumping for zero-welfare pork producers in their efforts to use the Farm Bill to obliterate Proposition 12 and similar laws in other states. And the White House should stop him before he does any further damage to the administration’s reputation and policies on animal welfare. When President Biden took office, his administration had the opportunity to reverse course from the Trump administration’s amicus brief supporting that faction of the pork industry fighting Proposition 12. Instead, Biden’s Solicitor General filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a challenge to California’s Proposition 12. 

Now, as Congress moves to finalize the Farm Bill, Secretary Vilsack is recklessly seeking to undermine the interests of thousands of farmers across the country and major public health associations who have all taken a decisive stand against the cruel and dangerous confinement of farm animals.