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:
Ballot Initiatives in Oregon
Several states including Oregon have ballot measures filed to criminalize basic animal husbandry practices such as artificial insemination and humane processing. Colorado just held that Initiative #16 could mislead voters when casting their ballots and vacated the title due to a lack of jurisdiction.
CAFO moratorium laws
A bill concerning the welfare of animals has been engrossed in New Jersey. The bill states that animals are “sentient beings” that, if treated poorly, should be recognized as persons that can sue in court.
A bill to establish the Smart Climate Agriculture Program under the administration of the department. As part of the program, the bill would require the department to, among other things, provide grants to persons farming on small to midsize farms to transition the use of the land from raising livestock or growing feed crops to plant-based agriculture and to provide technical assistance to those persons with regard to the program.
This proposed constitutional amendment establishes that every person has the right to a clean and healthy environment, including the right to clean air; pure water; and ecosystems that sustain the State’s natural resources. This would give Marylanders standing to intervene on any state application process if they believe it interferes with a clean environment, including CAFO permitting.
Chicken cage rules challenged with warnings of shortages and increased prices
A law, voted on in 2016 in Massachusetts, banning shelled eggs, veal, and other meat production using cage-confinement is being pushed by the food industry to update the requirements. Question 3 requires that eggs sold in Massachusetts mandate enclosures with 1.5 square feet per bird. Massachusetts is currently considering a new bill that would reduce the requirement to 1 square foot per bird.
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
By attempting to regulate businesses outside of its borders, the organizations say California’s Proposition 12 violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. The American Farm Bureau Federation and National Pork Producers Council are currently challenging the law. The North American Meat Institute’s challenge of the law has been rejected several times, even with the support of the U.S. Justice Department and 20 other states. The Iowa Pork Producers Association is asking an Iowa district court to declare it unconstitutional and issue an injunction to prevent officials in that state from enforcing the animal housing law.
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 (laying hens)
- Florida (pigs)
- Kentucky (veal calves)
- Maine (pigs, veal calves)
- Massachusetts (laying hens, pigs, veal calves)
- Michigan (laying hens)
- 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.