Will new bacon law begin? California grocers seek delay

A coalition of California restaurants and grocery stores has filed a lawsuit to block implementation of a new farm animal welfare law, adding to uncertainty about whether bacon and other fresh pork products will be much more expensive or in short supply in the state when the new rules take effect on New Year’s Day.

The lawsuit is the latest step in a tumultuous three-year process of enacting rules overwhelmingly approved by voters but that remain in question even as the law is set to begin. Since voters approved Proposition 12 by a 2-to-1 ratio in November 2018, state officials have missed deadlines for releasing specific regulations covering the humane treatment of animals that provide meat for the California market.

Most hog producers haven’t made changes to comply with the law. And now a coalition of business owners is seeking more than a two-year delay.

“We’re saying this is not going to work,” said Nate Rose, a spokesman for the California Grocers Association.

While groups are working to delay the measure, the state has eased the transition to the new system. It has allowed pork processed under the old rules and held in cold storage to be sold in California in 2022, which could prevent shortages for weeks or even months.

As Josh Balk, who leads farm animal protection efforts at the Humane Society of the United States, put it, California residents need not fear “pork industry claims of the apocalypse.”


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