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Federal Judge Issues Stay of Massachusetts Question 3
USAgNet - 08/15/2022

With regulations implementing it set to take effect Monday, Aug. 15, a federal judge Thursday granted National Pork Producers Council's motion for a stay of Massachusetts Question 3. The law would ban the sale of pork from hogs born to sows housed in pens that don’t comply with the state’s new prescriptive housing standards.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts issued the stay beginning Aug. 11 until 30 days after the U.S. Supreme Court decides a case brought by NPPC and the American Farm Bureau Federation against California’s Proposition 12, which is similar to Question 3. That case will be considered during the high court’s fall term, and a ruling could be made by the end of the year.

NPPC joined the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, HospitalityMaine, the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association, the Rhode Island Hospitality Association, and the Restaurant Law Center and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux in filing with the District Court a joint motion to stay the voter-approved 2016 ballot initiative, which would prohibit the sale of products from farms that confine “any breeding pig [sow], calf raised for veal, or egg-laying hen in a way that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending its limbs, or turning around freely.” The stay applies only to the sale of pork; Massachusetts farmers must comply with the housing standards.

Question 3, which the Massachusetts Legislature in late 2021 delayed after pressure from NPPC, would apply to any uncooked pork sold in the state, whether it’s produced there or outside its borders. Nearly all pork currently produced in the United States fails to meet Massachusetts’ arbitrary standards, according to NPPC.

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