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By Kelsey Harrell March 11, 2022

California 'bacon ban' applies to more than pork, aims to prevent animal cruelty

If Your Time is short

  • U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, and other Republicans from Iowa in Congress have referred to a law that has gone into effect in California as a "bacon ban." U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, made a similar claim in a tweet.
  • The law, Proposition 12, requires that pork, egg and veal producers increase square footage for areas the animals are confined in. The law bans the sale of products in the state from companies not following these standards set to prevent animal cruelty. 
  • Proposition 12 would ban more than pork, but the main goal of the law is to prevent animal cruelty. 

Republican U.S. Senate and House members from Iowa have voiced opposition against a California proposition that went into effect earlier this year that they claim will ban bacon in the state. Rep. Ashley Hinson recently tweeted about her travels around Iowa speaking to farmers and cattlemen to push back against what she and other Iowa Republican political leaders called a "bacon ban."

"Great to catch up with everyone and talk about our efforts to ensure independent cattle producers have fair market access & to push back on California’s bacon ban," Hinson tweeted. 

California Proposition 12, referred to as the "bacon ban" by Hinson and other politicians, requires housing breeding pigs, egg-laying chickens and veal calves in facilities of a certain square footage for animal health reasons. Facilities for breeding pigs would need to provide more than 24 square feet of usable floor space per pig. 

The law would ban the sale of pork, egg and veal products from companies whose facilities don’t meet those standards. The law applies to the sale of uncooked pork from animals raised in California and out of state

Proposition 12 was put on California’s ballot on Nov. 6, 2018, and passed with roughly 62% of the vote. The law amends requirements in parts of Chapter 13.8 of the state’s Health and Safety Code. It adds Proposition 2, a law that involved prevents animal cruelty that passed in 2008. 

Parts of the law were phased in, with the part covering requirements for pigs taking effect on Jan. 1, 2022. However, a Sacramento County judge ruled on Jan. 24 to delay enforcing the law for six months for retailers and grocers until the state enacted final regulations for the law. The regulations still apply to pork producers. 

The law’s overall goal is to prevent cruel treatment of animals in agriculture. Banning the sale of pork products from companies that don’t follow the regulations is a way to enforce the law. 

Hinson is not the only Iowan voicing opposition to the law. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, tweeted on Feb. 25: 

"In Plymouth County, local pork producers & I discussed a number of issues they’re facing, including the need to pass my EATS Act to prohibit states like California from effectively banning #Iowa bacon."

Hinson introduced the Exposing Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act in August 2021 which would prevent state and local governments from imposing laws that regulate condition standards on the production and manufacturing of agricultural products sold or offered for sale across state lines. 

"California’s radical effort to ban agriculture products grown and raised in states like Iowa is not just an attack on our hardworking farmers and producers, it’s an attack on anyone who likes to eat bacon for breakfast," Hinson said when introducing the EATS Act

Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Randy Feenstra, both Republicans from Iowa, have cosponsored the act. 

similar act was introduced in the Senate that Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ernst have cosponsored. 

Our ruling

Hinson and other Republicans from Iowa in Congress are pushing back against California Proposition 12, which bans pork, egg and veal products from companies that don’t follow the law’s confinement area standards. 

The product ban, which applies to companies in California but also out of state, is a way to enforce increased space requirements for housing livestock. More exists in the law but pigs raised under the conditions set out in California law may be sold for pork products. 

Iowa pork would not be able to be sold in California if the housing conditions for Iowa pigs taken to market do not comply with the law’s rules. Calling what is happening in California a bacon ban is Half True. 

Our Sources

Email exchange between PolitiFact Iowa and Sophie Seid, communications director for U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, March 10, 2022

Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, Tweet, March 6, 2022

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Tweet, Feb. 25, 2022

California Department of Food and Agriculture, Proposition 12, Farm Animal Confinement 

California Legislative Information, California Proposition 12, Health and Safety Code 

Ballotpedia, California Proposition 12, Farm Animal Confinement Initiative (2018)

California Proposition 2, Treatment of Farm Animals (2008)

Press Release, Hinson introduces EATS Act, Aug. 18, 2021

H.R.4999 Exposing Agricultural Trade Suppression Act, Aug. 10, 2021

California Legislative Analyst’s Office, Proposition 12, Nov. 6, 2018

S.2619 Exposing Agricultural Trade Suppression Act, Aug. 5, 2021

CBS Sacramento, Sacramento judge delays enforcement of part of new California bacon law, Jan. 25, 2022

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California 'bacon ban' applies to more than pork, aims to prevent animal cruelty

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