Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mark Your Calendars!

Here’s your chance to hear the Supreme Court discuss … fatigued pigs.

Two weeks from today—Wednesday, November 9—the high court will hear arguments in the National Meat Association’s challenge to a California law barring meatpackers from slaughtering non-ambulatory animals.

The California law was enacted in the wake of a highly publicized incident involving downer cows, but the law also affects pigs that arrive at packing plants healthy but temporarily unable to stand. There is nothing wrong with these animals that can’t be corrected by simply letting them rest for a short period. Yet the California law requires these so-called fatigued hogs to be euthanized.

The National Meat Association challenged the law on the grounds that it is preempted by federal statutes. NPPC, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and the National Farmers Union sided with the NMA, arguing that euthanizing fatigued pigs prevents proper testing of the animals for disease and that the California law would cause serious income losses to the pork industry.

According to one estimate, banning fatigued pigs from slaughter nationwide would remove up to 60 million pounds of pork from the food supply.

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