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Protecting local pork sectors

Protecting local pork sectors

13 states argue that a Massachusetts law is unconstitutional

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

More than a dozen states are taking legal action against another state for its regulations surrounding pork.

Iowa, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Missouri are among the jurisdictions alleging a newly implemented Massachusetts law is unconstitutional.

The Massachusetts regulation known as Question 3, “prohibits any farm owner or operator from knowingly confining any breeding pig, calf raised for veal, or egg-laying hen in a way that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending its limbs, or turning around freely."

Voters Question 3 supported in 2016 and it went into effect this year.

The plaintiffs argue the new regulation violates multiple statutes, like the Full Faith and Credit Clause, which requires states to respect laws passed in other states.

In addition, Question 3 will affect the greater pork sector negatively.

“Massachusetts Question 3 will disrupt the pork industry by imposing stringent requirements inconsistent with industry practices on hog farmers and pork processors across the country,” the states said. “Those mandates will substantially burden the interstate pork market and increase the price of pork for all Americans.”

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court upheld California’s Prop 12, which outlines production requirements for pork producers to sell their products in California.

Laws like Prop 12 and Question 3 create barriers for pork producers, said Gentner Drummond, Oklahoma’s attorney general.

“This ban will significantly hurt pork producers in Oklahoma and across the nation,” he said in a statement. “Oklahoma’s robust and responsible pork producers deserve a level playing field. It is imperative that Massachusetts consider the long-term negative effects this unconstitutional measure will cause producers and consumers.”

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