The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold California’s Proposition 12 is just the latest move in the unraveling of the fabric that holds our nation’s economy together. The framework of regulations and standards that has assured consumers that they can buy safe, healthy, and affordable food anywhere in the U.S. is quickly becoming meaningless as extreme activist groups use local ballot initiatives to limit the food choices the rest of us get to make. The result of this will be higher food prices, fewer food choices, and more food shortages.
“While the Constitution addresses many weighty issues, the type of pork chops California merchants may sell is not on that list,” said Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the majority. This demonstrates just how ignorant the court is about the ramifications of this ruling. Proposition 12 had nothing to do with the quality of safety of pork but simply the way baby pigs were born. A well-funded coalition of extremist animal activist groups launched a high-profile ballot campaign against what they felt was the wrong way to birth pigs.
Prop 12 is essentially a trade embargo by California against states where certain hog birth practices are accepted. In his dissenting opinion, Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote, “If one State conditions sale of a good on the use of preferred farming, manufacturing, or production practices in another State where the good was grown or made, serious questions may arise under the Import-Export Clause.” This is legal speak for this is a bunch of hogwash.
If this trend is allowed to continue, other states may impose their own restrictions on food produced elsewhere because there is something they don’t like about it. For example, some conservative states may stop fruits and vegetables from California because they might be picked by undocumented migrant workers. Unthinkable you say? Just look at Florida, which is currently banning books right and left—most of which, they have not even read.
This is a wakeup call for agriculture—as if we really needed one—as to just how dangerous these activist groups are. We have already seen how these groups can impact egg, milk, and pork production. Next, it could be GMO seeds.
Food names, laws, and labels used to be based on science and facts. Today, they are increasingly based on fads and fanaticism. This does not bode well for American consumers or farmers.
That’s how I see it.
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