Watchdog takes 13-state cage-free briefs to Supreme Court


A consumer group has stepped in to support 13 states that are challenging restrictions by California and Massachusetts on what eggs and pork products can be sold in supermarkets. The Center for Consumer Freedom has filed amici curiae, or friend of the court, briefs with the Supreme Court of the United States asserting these restrictions adopted by California and Massachusetts are unconstitutional overreaches that seek to require how farmers in other states care for their animals.

In 2015, California banned the sale of conventionally raised eggs, and in 2016, Massachusetts voters passed a ballot measure that bans the sale of conventionally raised eggs, pork, and veal in the state beginning in 2022. A Cornell University analysis found that the California law caused an 18 percent increase in egg prices for Californians. The laws were promoted by the vegan advocacy group Humane Society of the United States, which has an expressed agenda to eventually eliminate animal agriculture.

The briefs implore the Supreme Court to take up the challenges directly. Unlike other litigation that must work its way through lower courts, the Supreme Court can directly hear lawsuits between states. The Constitution states that “the Supreme Court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction of all controversies between two or more states.”

The brief also argues that the interstate commerce clause, which clearly makes the federal government the arbiter of commerce between states, is clearly an issue in this case.

“California and Massachusetts shouldn’t get to dictate how farmers in Iowa, North Carolina, or any other state care for their animals,” said Will Coggin, managing director of CCF. “The Supreme Court should strike down these unconstitutional laws that drive up costs and restrict choices for consumers and farmers.”

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