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Iowa Sens. Ernst, Grassley introduce bill to combat California pork law

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010621 Grassley Ernst Capitol Web

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KWWL) -- Iowa Republican Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley are among a group of Republicans that have introduced legislation to push back against a California animal welfare law set to go in effect on January 1.

Proposition 12 was passed by California voters in 2018. Part of the law says any pig sold in California, regardless of where it was raised, must come from a breeding operation where sows have at least 24 square feet of space each. The law could cost Iowa hog farmers millions of dollars collectively. There are no laws about space requirements in Iowa; only laws against animal abuse.

The Exposing Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act introduced by the Republicans senators would prohibit state and local governments from interfering with the production or manufacture of agricultural products in other states. This would prevent states like California from regulating how Iowa producers raise their pigs in order to sell pork in The Golden State. The bill would still allow state and local governments to regulate farming and ranching within their own state.

“I don’t know why anyone would want to live in a state where it’s almost impossible to buy bacon. But California wants to impose such a rule on its residents,” Grassley said. “Iowa has an abundance of agricultural products to offer and folks from coast to coast should be able to enjoy them. I’m glad to sponsor this bill which will protect Iowa farmers and producers and allow them the freedom to operate their farms as they see fit.”

More than 20 states challenged Proposition 12. According to a report from the Associated Press, only 4% of hog operations currently comply with the new rules and unless the courts intervene or the state temporarily allows non-compliant meat to be sold in the state, California will lose much of its pork supply.

“We thought we’ve seen it all from the radical left – from defunding the police, to the Green New Deal, to trillions in new spending with skyrocketing inflation – but this takes it to a whole new level: banning bacon? No way, folks," Ernst, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee said. "Radicals in liberal states like California shouldn’t be allowed to punish hardworking farmers and producers in Iowa, which is why I’m pushing to strip out this ridiculous law and ensure Iowans can continue selling the nation’s best pork, bacon, and eggs to Americans across the country."

Californians consume 15% of all pork produced in the U.S., and Iowa leads the country in hog production. To make sure they stay compliant, Iowa farmers are making tough decisions before the law goes into effect on January 1, 2022.

The EATS Act can be read in its entirety here:

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