Meat prices have been surging. The cost of pork is up 17% over the past year. A California ballot initiative, set to take effect on Saturday, may send ham and bacon prices up even more.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act, also known as Proposition 12, was backed by the Humane Society and approved by 63% of California voters in 2018. The law establishes minimum space requirements for farm animals and prohibits the sale of meat from animals raised in housing that doesn’t meet its specifications. State regulators will inspect out-of-state farms to ensure they are in compliance. A business owner or operator—including supermarkets, restaurants and meat processors—found to be violating the law could be charged with a misdemeanor punishable with fines up to $1,000 or as many as 180 days in jail, as well as civil penalties. This in a state where shoplifting is rarely prosecuted.