WESTMINSTER, CO. – Niman Ranch, a premium meats brand subsidiary of Perdue Farms, recently provided an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court that supports California’s Proposition 12 animal confinement law.

Proposition 12 requires veal calf producers to house animals with at least 43 square feet of usable floor space per calf. Starting this year, sows must be housed in a minimum of 24 square feet of usable space per animal and laying hens must be cage-free. 

Niman said it is the only pork company to submit a brief in favor of Prop 12. 

“It is too often lost that this is the most consequential animal welfare initiative we have seen in a long time — probably ever for hogs. Prop 12 will lift up the floor of conventional hog production practices to meet the bare minimum of consumer expectations on animal care,” said Chris Oliviero, general manager of Niman Ranch. “Frankly, it’s not humane to keep sows in a seven by two-foot crate for weeks or even months at a time. Californians agree.”

Oliveiro added that many hog farmers don’t use gestation crates for ethical reasons. 

“It’s frustrating that many in the conventional industry have spent the past several years trying to overturn Prop 12 despite the overwhelming support from Californians,” he added. “They know where consumer demand is heading, and they should have been helping farmers convert away from crates rather than fighting the inevitable. Normally we talk about what we do at Niman Ranch and not what others do in the industry, but this issue is too important from an animal welfare perspective and for small farmers to stay quiet.”

Oral arguments over Prop 12 are set to begin on Oct. 11, following a lengthy court battle involving The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) among many other interested parties.

“Proposition 12 imposes arbitrary animal housing standards that reach outside of California’s borders to farms across the United States,” NPPC and AFBF previously said in statements. “By attempting to regulate businesses outside of its borders, the organizations say California’s Proposition 12 violates the commerce clause of the US Constitution.”