August 3, 2021
Christensen Farms CEO warns of more expensive pork due to California, US pig law
The president and chief executive officer of Christensen Farms, Glenn Stolt, had detailed the consequences of a new California, US pig law, warning that initial prices for pork products could rise to 50%.
"We would estimate that you could see initial prices up as high as 3-50%," Stolt told a morning news show on August 2, noting that "pork is a desired cuisine" by a "diverse population".
The California law, which is expected to take effect at the beginning of next year, would require more space for breeding pigs, egg-laying chickens and veal calves.
National veal and egg producers believe they can meet the new standards, but only 4% of hog operations currently comply with the new rules, the Associated Press reported, adding that unless the courts get involved or the state temporarily allows non-compliant meat to be sold in the state, California will lose almost all of its pork supply — much of which comes from Iowa.
Producers will be forced to meet the state's strict new standards and Stolt warned that he will not be able to sell pork in California as "we are not currently set up to meet the requirements as of January 1."
He added that he does not believe many other pork producers can meet the requirements by the deadline.
Animal welfare organisations have been pushing for more humane treatment of farm animals for years.
Stolt slammed the law as "an agenda of veganism and anti-meat." He claimed that "this ballot initiative was led by animal activists."
Pork producers are expected to face higher costs to regain the key market due to the animal welfare proposition, which was approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2018.
Stolt noted capital requirements would be needed "to adjust our systems accordingly."
He said that "the actual requirements of the rules still have not been finalised yet," but added that if all pork producers were to convert their systems, it would cost the industry "hundreds of millions of dollars for what really will not, in our opinion, do anything to improve animal welfare, to certainly improve environmental stewardship, worker safety, as well as food safety."
"In fact, in some cases, it actually backs those initiatives up after decades of progress across pork production," he continued.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture said that although the detailed regulations are not yet complete, the key rules about space have been known since the Farm Animal Confinement Proposition (Prop 12) passed in 2018.
Stolt highlighted the difficulty of making sure the "the animals that we have in our herd as of right now" are "actually compliant" with the new law by the start of 2022.
California consumes roughly 15% of all pork produced in the United States.
- Fox Business