Resolving the Ruckus

Proposition 12

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Establishes New Standards for Confinement of Specified Farm Animals; Bans Sale of Noncomplying Products

initiative statute

Official Summary

Establishes new minimum space requirements for confining veal calves, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens.

Requires egg-laying hens be raised in cage-free environment after December 31, 2021.

Prohibits certain commercial sales of specified meat and egg products derived from animals confined in noncomplying manner.

Defines sales violations as unfair competition.

Creates good faith defense for sellers relying upon written certification by suppliers that meat and egg products comply with new confinement standards.

Requires State of California to issue implementing regulations.

Fiscal Impact: Potential decrease in state income tax revenues from farm businesses, likely not more than several million dollars annually. State costs up to $10 million annually to enforce the measure.


In 2008, Prop 2 banned “the confinement of pregnant pigs, calves raised for veal, and egg-laying hens in a manner that did not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs”, but did not specify square footage. This measure specifies square footage as of 2020: veal calves 43sf, hens 1sf (cage free starting in 2022), breeding pigs 24sf (2022). It also specifies that the sale of products resulting from animals confined in violation is prohibited.