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

“Proposition B” Repealed: Suffering Falls Victim to the Economy

George Buchanan

        Less than two years ago Missouri passed Proposition B, the “Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act.” However, in April of 2011 Proposition B was repealed.

The United States Humane Society estimates that there are roughly 4,000 puppy mills in the U.S. alone, and that 2-4 million of these dogs are sold each year. All of these dogs will suffer some form of physical or psychological issues due to the horrible conditions they are raised in, and a good portion will wind-up being euthanized when they are not sold. Proposition B required wire flooring for cages eliminated by November 2011; Maximum allowable breeding females per business = 50; Cage height = taller than any dog standing erect; Maximum number of times a female may be bred within 18 months time = 2; Larger enclosures by November 2011. Although these requirements are not exactly ideal for a dog’s well being, they would be an up- grade over the previous conditions the dogs were forced to endure. Continue reading

The Show-Me State Legislature Making the World Safe for Factory Farms

David Cassuto

I used to live in Missouri (in Rolla — a place locals call “The Middle of Everywhere“).  I have many fond memories of my time there including my first visit to Stonehenge, drinking grape juice made from local grapes (the wine is pretty good, too), and doing a radio show on gulf coast rhythm and blues for the local NPR affiliate .  So it pains me even more than it might to report about the steady capture of the legislature by agribusiness. 

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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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