There’s reason to celebrate in California this week – Proposition 12, which voters in the state overwhelmingly supported on the ballot in 2018, is fully implemented as of January 1, 2024. Prop 12 strengthens space requirements for farm animals and bans the sale of meat in the state produced under conditions that violate these standards. Full implementation means that retailers in the state had until December 31, 2023 to sell all non-compliant pork products, and as of January 1, producers are required to have a certificate of compliance.
Bon Appétit Management Company has acted on our support of humane treatment for animals raised for livestock for decades. We were the first restaurant company to make a national commitment to cage-free shell eggs in 2005, and in 2016 we expanded the commitment to liquid eggs while also announcing our comprehensive farm animal welfare policy, which included the phase-out of pork from pigs raised in gestation crates. Animal welfare is a core value for us and many of our guests, and it’s been gratifying to see the upswell of public interest in broader, stronger protections for humane treatment of livestock.
We were supporters of Proposition 12 in our home state of California, and we are glad to see the consumer demand for meat produced with high animal welfare standards has been met. We’re also aware of the challenges that measures like Prop 12 face, such as proposed legislation like the EATS Act. As we wrote in this November Op-Ed in the Mercury News, the EATS Act claims to “prevent states and local jurisdictions from interfering with the production and distribution of agricultural products in interstate commerce.” But what it really aims to do is overturn the results of Prop 12 (and a similar measure in Massachusetts) so that business as usual can continue for the industrial-scale pork industry.
We look forward to the day when business as usual means that humane animal treatment is the baseline for all producers, and we believe that Prop 12 is a step in that direction. Kudos to all who worked to put this law in place – it benefits animals and humans alike.