Nearly three years ago, a Western state asked voters to think about a proposal that would oblige farmers to give breeding animals such as pigs more space. The measure, which was passed with a resounding “yes”, will finally come into effect this winter. And it could mean that not only California voters, but also consumers in the US will have to pay more for bacon in the supermarket.
Only 4% of companies currently comply with the rules laid down in Proposition 12, according to the Associated Press (AP). And there’s little time left to build new facilities – these new rules will become law as soon as the clock strikes midnight on January 1.
“Unless the courts intervene or the state temporarily allows non-compliant meat to be sold in the state, California will lose nearly all of its pork supply, much of which comes from Iowa, and pork producers will face increased costs to get a important market.” Scott McFetridge writes for the AP.
California-based eateries and grocers move nearly 255 million pounds of pork each month, Rabobank, a food and agriculture financial services company, said. AP. However, farms in the Golden State only produce 45 million pounds of pork.
The news channel also quoted a study by the Hatamiya Group, which found that prices would rise by 60% if half of the state’s pork stock disappeared. “We are very concerned about the potential impact on supply and therefore cost increases,” said Matt Sutton, director of public policy for the California Restaurant Association.
The new rules are a win for animal welfare advocates, but the associated costs could hit minority communities particularly hard. “Our #1 seller is bacon, eggs and hash browns,” Jeannie Kim, who runs SAMS American Eatery in San Francisco, told the AP. “It could be devastating for us.”
“You know, I work and live with a lot of Asian and Hispanic populations in the city and their diet is pork. Pork is huge,” Kim added. “It’s almost like bread and butter.”
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