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13 States Challenge Massachusetts Animal Rights Law

The litigation concerns prohibitions on Massachusetts restaurants or stores buying products from out-of-state farmers who do not abide by Massachusetts' animal rights law.

DANIEL J. FLYNN: ‘Does a state have a right to tell farmers in other states how to grow their food?… Thirteen states suing Massachusetts filed a brief petitioning the U.S. Supreme to hear their case “This case affects every producer, distributor, and consumer of eggs, pork, and veal in the country, and it implicates fundamental constitutional principles of horizontal federalism and interstate comity,” the brief filed on Wednesday reads… Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin join Indiana in suing Massachusetts…

The brief pertains to whether the Bay State’s animal cruelty law impinges on the rights of other states under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. A 2016 state ballot question, which passed by a greater than 3-to-1 margin, prohibits Massachusetts businesses from selling pork, shelled eggs, or veal from “any farm owner or operator … knowingly confining any breeding pig, 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 litigation concerns not Massachusetts regulations pertaining to in-state farmers but prohibitions on Massachusetts restaurants or stores buying products from out-of-state farmers who do not abide by Massachusetts law. Farmers impacted by laws passed beyond their state borders regard edicts as coastal states invested in agriculture more as consumers than producers dictating to heartland states more economically dependent on farming how they should conduct their business’. SOURCE…

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