Legislation

The Alliance closely monitors legislation that may impact animal agriculture at the state and federal level. State legislative measures dictating animal care are often lobbied for by activist organizations and have the potential to impact farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to provide safe, nutritious and affordable animal products for all.
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States in GREEN have pending legislation.

Federal legislation can be found under DC.

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Federal

Here are current pieces of legislation that should be on your radar:

Arizona HB 2724

Would prohibit from and after December 31, 2020, a farm owner or operator from confining an egg‑laying hen in an enclosure with less than one square foot of usable floor space per hen. From and after December 31, 2024, a farm owner or operator in this state may not knowingly confine an egg‑laying hen in an enclosure: that is not a cage-free housing system.

Florida SB 1048 – Courtroom Animal Advocates

Would allow courts to assign an animal advocate to pursue the “interests of an animal” in court proceedings. The bill would also grant powers to lawyers and legal interns trained in animal law.

Hawaii HB 2740: Relating to Public Schools

Requires the Department of Education to develop plant-based alternatives to satisfy 50 percent of protein requirements in meals offered across all public schools annually and incorporate plant-based diet education, including positive environmental impacts, into its dietary health curriculum.

Iowa farm protection law enforcement halted

“A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction preventing Iowa officials from enforcing a new law that would make it a crime for whistleblowers or undercover activists to take pictures or videos at meatpacking plants and livestock facilities.”

Iowa SF 2389

A bill for an act creating the criminal offense of food operation trespass, and providing penalties.

Iowa SF 2239

A bill for an act relating to false allegations regarding the mistreatment of animals, by providing for certain complaints, and providing penalties.

Kansas farm protection bill ruled unconstitutional

A federal judge ruled provisions in a Kansas law that ban the secret filming at slaughterhouses and other livestock facilities unconstitutionally criminalize free speech on 1/22/2020.

Maine LD 2084 – An Act Prohibiting Certain Confinement of Egg-laying Hens and the Sale of Their Eggs

Prohibits a farm owner or operator within the State to knowingly confine an egg laying hen in an enclosure that is not a cage-free housing system or in an enclosure with less than one square foot of usable floor space per egg-laying hen in multi-tiered aviaries, partially slatted systems or any other cage-free housing system that provides egg-laying hens with unfettered access to vertical space; or one and one-half square feet of usable floor space per egg-laying hen in single-level all-litter floor systems or any other cage-free housing system that does not provide egg-laying hens with unfettered access to vertical space.

Maryland Bill: Crimes Against Animals – Interference with Livestock

Would prohibit a person from willfully and maliciously interfering with, injuring, destroying, or tampering with livestock used for racing or breeding.

New Jersey SB 1971

Establishes animal cruelty offense of cruel confinement of a gestating pig.

New York AB 9708

Requires licensed slaughterhouses to have a closed circuit camera and television system in all areas with live animals; establishes a reporting requirement pursuant to inspections where a violation is found.

West Virginia SB 490

Any person who willfully trespasses on the property of another which constitutes an animal or crop facility with the intent to commit larceny, destroy property, or disrupt the operation of the facility is guilty of willful trespass upon an animal or crop facility.

The Alliance monitors legislation that may impact animal agriculture. Here are some trends we’ve seen over the years:

Ballot Initiatives introduced by animal rights organizations 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.

Ballot Initiatives:

Massachusetts Q3: The initiative, supported by the Humane Society of the United States, would require MA farms and businesses to produce and sell only eggs from cage-free hens, pork from pigs not raised in or born of a sow raised in conventional housing, and would also apply to veal housing. The ballot passed with 77 percent of the vote on Nov. 8, 2016.
California Prop 2: Also backed by HSUS, this initiative would prohibit with certain exceptions, the confinement on a farm of gestating pigs, veal calves, and egg-laying hens in a manner that prevents the animal to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend its limbs. Related, on July 6, 2010, AB 1437, a bill to require out-of-state eggs meet the same requirements imposed on CA producers by Proposition 2, was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger. Prop 2 and AB 1437 both took effect on the same day: January 1, 2015.

Farm Protection Legislation:

Introduced to prevent animal rights extremists from gaining illicit employment on farms with the intent to damage the farms’ reputation. These states currently have farm protection laws: Montana, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, North Dakota, Alabama and Arkansas. Iowa’s law has been temporarily halted. Farm protection laws have been ruled unconstitutional in four states: Wyoming, Idaho, Utah and Kansas.

Antibiotic Legislation:

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.

Right to Farm Amendments:

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.

Livestock Care Standards Advisory Boards:

States have adopted bills relating to farm animal welfare to establish standards for livestock and poultry care and well-being in the state. So far, Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia have such boards.