Court Allows Animal Protection Nonprofits To Intervene In Meat Industry Lawsuit



Groups Defend Legal Protections for Farmed Animals Against Constitutional Challenge

Los Angeles, CA | November 25, 2019 — Late on Friday, a federal judge in California rejected a request by the North American Meat Institute to block a new farm animal protection law from taking effect as scheduled. The lawsuit, filed last month, ultimately seeks to strike down the newly enacted protections as unconstitutional.

The law at issue is California’s “Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act.” That Act, also known as Proposition 12, passed via ballot measure last year when nearly two-thirds of California voters opted to ban the sale of certain products from hens, pigs, and calves confined in ways deemed particularly cruel. Specifically, the law establishes larger minimum space requirements for these animals and will prohibit the sale of eggs, pork, and veal from animals not raised according to these minimum standards.

The court’s Friday ruling also granted a motion to allow Animal Equality and six other animal protection organizations to intervene in the lawsuit. The other groups include the Humane Society of the United States, Animal Legal Defense Fund, The Humane League, Farm Sanctuary, Compassion in World Farming USA, and Compassion Over Killing. 

Each was part of a broad coalition of diverse public interest groups that came together last year to campaign for Proposition 12. But their work in support of the law isn’t over. As intervening defendants in the lawsuit, these groups will assist the State of California in defending the law against the Meat Institute’s challenge.

The nonprofits assert that, contrary to the Meat Institute’s arguments, the law’s sales prohibitions are a lawful exercise of California’s state power under the U.S. Constitution.

“California, like all states, has a legitimate interest in preventing cruelty to animals and prohibiting the products of cruelty from entering its market,” said Sarah Hanneken, legal counsel at Animal Equality. “This law is like any other that enforces moral values through a prohibition on unethical products. It is perfectly in line with constitutional principles.”

California’s ban on the sale of noncomplying veal products will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020, while the ban on noncomplying pork is scheduled to go into effect in 2022.

Court filings are available upon request.

MEDIA CONTACT: Ollie Davidson, (‭424) 251-2217‬,