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Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila Secures Another Victory for Humane Society

RSHC’s Bruce Wagman represented the Humane Society of the United States and several other animal protection groups in a successful defense of California's landmark farm animal protection law, Proposition 12. The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) had sought to overturn the prohibition on the sale in California of pork and veal products that come from animals who were kept in cruel confinement conditions.

NAMI had argued the ban violated the federal commerce clause by essentially erecting a “trade barrier” to meat producers from outside the state and claimed the state’s law extends beyond its borders. A U.S. District Court had denied the group’s request to block the law in November 2019. That decision was appealed to the 9th Circuit, which heard oral arguments in the matter in June. The three judge panel released their decision Thursday, October 15, upholding the lower court's finding that Proposition 12 does not improperly burden interstate commerce or impact a national industry.

In commenting on the case, Bruce noted that California has the right to reject products that are raised through animal cruelty. "This is not an economic protectionist statute, but one based on health and safety and animal cruelty. It is a law based on the firm conviction of California citizens that they do not want the products of cruelty sold in our stores or restaurants," he said.

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