Proposition 12 Passes in California

November 8, 2018

Proposition 12 Farm Animal Confinement Standards passed in California with 61 percent of voters in favor of the new space requirements for hens, calves, and pigs.  Of the 11 ballot initiatives on the California ballot,  Proposition 12 passed by the second highest margin.

Key Proposition 12 Dates

  • Effective January 1, 2020, all eggs sold must be from hens with a minimum of 144 square inches of usable floor space per hen.
  • Effective January 1, 2022, all eggs sold must be from hens with cage-free housing and usable floor space per hen required by the 2017 edition of UEP Certified Cage-Free Housing Guidelines.

In 2008, when California passed the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, more popularly known as Proposition 2, few would have believed a similar measure would be on the ballot only ten years later. While Proposition 12 received opposition from both sides, with some groups claiming it did not go far enough and others saying it went too far, the opposition was not as strong nor as coordinated as that received by Proposition 2.

The 2008 Proposition 2 did not initially require products from other states sold in California to adhere to the newly established standard; however, the California state legislature quickly passed a law to minimize the impact on California producers. This law has undergone legal challenges, but to date still stands. Proposition 12 does include language requiring egg and egg products sold in the state of California, including those produced in other states, to meet these same housing standards.

Proposition 12 is expected to face legal challenges and state officials need to determine how to enforce the housing requirements.  Enforcement is estimated to cost up to $10 million annually.