Can California regulate egg production under the Commerce Clause?

New standard for chickens

New standard for chickens

Seth Victor

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District Court of California, asking the federal court to overturn a 2010 California law requiring the same standards for in-state chickens be applied to out-of-state chickens. In 2008, California passed Proposition 2, a ballot measure that increased the standards for egg-layers, providing that such chickens must have enough space to spread their wings without touching another chicken, and be able to stand up and lay down. Animal producers in California, however, complained that because they couldn’t stuff as many birds into the same space, they are at an economic disadvantage when competing with out-of-state producers selling in California. In response the state legislature passed a law requiring that all eggs sold in California be held to the same standards required under Proposition 2. The law will take effect in 2015. While California maintains that the additional law was enacted for health safety given the atrocious conditions of battery cages, Missouri counters that the law is an unlawful attempt to regulate conduct outside of California’s boarders, and an impermissible protection against out-of-state competition, both of which are in violation of the Commerce Clause. Continue reading

Missouri Court of Appeals Keeps Friends Close and CAFOs Closer

David Cassuto

Excellent post here about a recent Missouri Court of Appeals decision eradicating a buffer zone between the historic town of Arrow Rock and a proposed CAFO.  In Missouri, a CAFO need be sited only 3000 feet  from residential areas.  Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster litigated this case furiously on behalf of the factory farms, arguing that the town´s ordinance requiring the facility be further away represented a trend that  “[i]n the eyes of the agricultural community, [was] starting to spin out of control.” 

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