Proposition 12 and the impact for US producers

Published on May 18, 2023

Proposition 12 and the impact for US producers

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to Proposition 12, a statewide ban on the sale of pork from pigs housed in less than 24 square feet of floor space. For many pig producers in the US, this raises questions on how this change may impact them.

Group housing is not a new concept, but for many North American pig producers, a change in housing system represents uncertainty in how they can maintain sow productivity, welfare, and achieve economic success. Our position at the beginning of the value chain means that we have already prepared for this potential shift by keeping all nucleus sows in loose housing during gestation for many years. The next step is for all sire line nucleus sows in loose housing, which is in progress as assets are renewed.

For pig producers in the US, here are some key points to learn about Proposition 12 and how genetics can impact success in group housing.

What is Proposition 12?

Proposition 12 is a Californian ballot proposition passed in 2018 that bans the sale of pork from sows and their offspring kept in less than 24 square feet of usable floor space. This measure was approved back in 2018, but it has not been enforced due to legal challenges. This applies to whole, uncooked pork cuts, such as bacon or tenderloin, but does not apply to products such as ground pork or combination products such as sandwiches, hot dogs, and pizzas.

What is the impact for producers?

There are still a number of unknowns related to the enforcement of this law. This recent article gives a response from the legal representation of the Iowa Pork Producers Council.

For pig producers who are interested in making a change in their system, there are ways to modify their operations so that employees can manage their pigs easily and maintain performance in farrowing and weaning.

All dam line sows in our nucleus facility, Bon Accord, are kept in group housing. So, for Hypor customers, the products they receive are already well adapted to this environment. Producers report that the Hypor sow is calm and farrows easily in group housing. Click here to learn more about how Hypor selects sows that are calm and easy to manage. With loose housing, it is also important that the pigs have good feet structure, leg strength, and general body structure. We're using innovative technologies to select pigs with good feet and legs, continuously improving these traits in our breeding program.

If you are looking to make a change in your housing system, Hypor representatives can help. Our technical experts can provide information on management techniques to help you succeed.

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NOTE: This article was originally published in Asian Pork Magazine and has been republished here with permission.