Proposition 12, California’s Farm Animal Confinement Initiative, was approved in 2018 with 63 percent of the vote. The voters enacted Prop 12 for the stated purposes of treating farm animals humanely and taking precautionary measures to promote food safety by reducing animal density in confined areas. Specific requirements for veal calves and egg-laying hens went into effect on January 1, 2020. The final phase of Prop 12, with additional requirements for egg-laying hens and a minimum confinement space of 24 square feet for breeding pigs, goes into effect on January 1, 2022.
CDFA’s role in the enforcement of Prop 12 is to establish a uniform and transparent method to implement the law through the promulgation of regulations in partnership with the California Department of Public Health. While Prop 12 itself states what confinement standards are required to comply with the law, these regulations create a more streamlined administrative mechanism for demonstrating compliance and will thus ensure that consumers have confidence that products subject to Prop 12 are compliant with the law. It is important to note that the pursuit of criminal and civil penalties for violations of Prop 12 is under the jurisdiction of local district attorneys, city attorneys, county counsels, and the Attorney General’s office.
The state is working to complete the regulatory process as quickly as possible while meeting the legally required steps for issuance of new regulations. CDFA and the California Department of Public Health began this work in December 2018, weeks after the proposition passed. Since then, the agencies have gathered input from stakeholders, held informal workshops and meetings to discuss proposals, conducted an in-depth economic impact study, ensured a complete review of the draft and supporting documents, published draft regulations for comment, held a comment hearing, reviewed comments and amended as appropriate, and republished for comment, all as required by California’s Administrative Procedure Act.
Next steps you can expect to see:
- Comments on the draft regulations are being reviewed following a recently completed 15-day public comment period. Review is expected to be completed by mid-January, 2022.
- If comments require substantial changes to the regulatory package, we may open another comment period on the updated language.
- When this part of the process is complete, we will send the final draft regulations, along with all public comments and our responses to them, to California’s Office of Administrative Law (OAL).
- Upon approval by OAL, the regulations will be sent to the Secretary of State’s office to be published, the final step of the process.
As we head into 2022, we have had many discussions with pork producers who are planning not only to be compliant, but to expand their operations. Additionally, we believe there is sufficient product already in the supply chain to carry through for a number of months.
Proposition 12 reflects the will of California voters, and it is a law that will likely influence food purchases in our state for years to come.