States in GREEN have pending legislation.
Federal legislation can be found under DC.
Click on a state to view passed, failed and pending legislation.
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Here are current pieces of legislation and trends that should be on your radar:
Elephant not granted “personhood,” animal rights group seeks new litigation
The Nonhuman Rights Project’s lawsuit to declare a zoo elephant as a “legal person” was struck down by New York’s highest court in a 5-2 ruling. With this loss, Nonhuman Rights Project is seeking similar litigation in California. This activist group has been pushing litigation to establish animal “personhood” by changing the legal status of nonhuman animals in order to file lawsuits with animal plaintiffs.
Courtroom Animal Advocate Program laws
New York, New Jersey, and Florida have introduced similar bills that would provide an advocate in criminal cases concerning welfare or care of an animal. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has been actively lobbying for the passage of the bill in New Jersey and recently released a “mini documentary” highlighting their case for CAAP laws.
State ballot initiatives fail in attempt to target basic animal husbandry practices
Oregon has withdrawn the ballot measure filed to criminalize basic animal husbandry practices such as artificial insemination and humane processing. The initiative was withdrawn on 3/28/2022 by the chief petitioner due to a lack of signatures, and claim to refocus their efforts towards making the ballot again in 2024. Colorado recently held that Initiative #16, also known as the PAUSE ACT, could mislead voters when casting their ballots and vacated the title due to a lack of jurisdiction.
Iowa and California are facing bills that would put a moratorium on confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). At the federal level, the Farm System Reform Act has been re-introduced with provisions including an immediate CAFO moratorium if passed. Extreme animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere has been been heavily lobbying for a CAFO moratorium in California for several years as part of its “Cancel Animal Ag” campaign.
Arizona’s initiatives against animal confinement
The Governor’s Regulatory Review Council (GRRC) in Arizona has approved regulations from the Arizona Department of Agriculture requiring that all eggs sold in the state, as well as those produced in the state, must come from hens free from cage confinement. The phase-in date for the regulation is Jan. 1, 2025. The GRRC appears to be using the ballot initiative sponsored by World Animal Protection, rather than a bill passed by legislature, as justification for the approving these regulations.
A ballot initiative, sponsored by World Animal Protection, seeks to prohibit farm owners from confining calves raised for veal, breeding pigs, or egg-laying hens in a “cruel manner” and prohibits a business owner or operator from knowingly selling animal products derived from covered animals confined in a “cruel manner.”
Ag groups challenge CA’s Prop 12
A California judge has halted implementation of the strict housing standards for livestock, saying the state ag department has been two years late in creating the regulations. The judge says that Prop 12 will be delayed until six months after the state sets the final rules. Several courts are considering challenges to this rule including the Supreme Court.
Five Republican senators introduced the Exposing Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act. This act will prevent states like California from radically regulating farmers and ranchers in other states. The bill is intended to halt California’s Proposition 12, which would require that meat sold but not produced in the state comes from animals whose living conditions conform with the animal rights standards in the proposition.
Plant-based makers challenge labeling laws
Several states including Louisiana and Arkansas are facing challenges from plant-based makers over laws that make it illegal to label plant-based products as meat. Missouri and Oklahoma’s laws were upheld.
Farm protection bills are introduced to prevent animal rights extremists from gaining illicit employment on farms with the intent to damage the farms’ reputation.
Under FDA Final Guidance 209, Final Guidance 213 and the Veterinary Feed Directive, all medically important antibiotics used in animal feed or water are only for the therapeutic purposes of disease treatment, disease control or disease prevention and under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Some states have introduced bills that would restrict when farmers and veterinarians are allowed to administer antibiotics to food-producing animals. Others would require farmers to submit paperwork regarding their antibiotic usage to the state department of agriculture.
Some bills and ballot initiatives are introduced to challenge production systems and raise the cost for the farmers and ranchers raising livestock and poultry and ultimately for consumers at the grocery store. Below are just a few examples from different industries.
States with laws impacting how animals are raised:
- Arizona (pigs, veal calves)
- California (laying hens, pigs, veal calves)
- Colorado (pigs, laying hens)
- Florida (pigs)
- Kentucky (veal calves)
- Maine (pigs, veal calves)
- Massachusetts (laying hens, pigs, veal calves)
- Michigan (laying hens, pigs, veal calves)
- Ohio (laying hens, pigs)
- Oregon (laying hens, pigs)
- Rhode Island (laying hens, pigs, veal calves)
- Utah (laying hens)
- Washington (laying hens)
Every state has a Right to Farm law protecting farmers and ranchers who use accepted and standard farming practices from nuisance lawsuits. Several states have introduced amendments that would change the state’s law to prevent new legislation from interfering with farming practices.