The Californian government has made many mistakes over the last several years. It overtaxed its people, allowed homelessness to overrun its cities, and crippled its economy with crushing lockdowns, but this time it’s gone too far:
It came for people’s bacon.
On January 1, California will begin enforcing an animal welfare law passed by voters in 2018 that requires more space for breeding pigs, along with egg-laying chickens and veal calves.
While veal and egg producers believe they can meet the new standards, only 4% of hog operations meet them. This means that unless the state allows non-compliant meat to be sold, California projects to lose almost half of its pork supply. A Hatmiya Group study estimated that it could make pork prices soar. In fact, “the price of bacon could rocket up by 60 percent.”
So much for “bringing home the bacon”.
This is yet another blow for many restaurants across the state recovering from lockdowns, since bacon is a very popular food item. “Our number one seller is bacon, eggs and hash browns,” said Jeannie Kim, who for 15 years has run SAMS American Eatery on San Francisco’s busy Market Street. “It could be devastating for us.”
Even worse, many did not even realize this would be happening. “KPIX-5 called dozens of restaurants, stores and meat markets Monday and very few were aware of what may be coming. That included Concord caterer Rogie Purificacion, who said pork is a staple in Hispanic and Asian cooking.”
Another Californian, Jenny Flannagan, remembered the “chicken law” but didn’t realize it would affect bacon as well. “It’s kind of sad. It would be nice to know what we were voting for,” she said. “I don’t think anybody knows about this.”
With less than half a year left until the law takes effect, it is very unlikely that the pork industry will manage to adapt in time. California consumes around 15% of pork produced in the country. The pork industry has filed multiple lawsuits to stop this law, but so far, the Courts have favored California. The National Pork Producer Council, alongside restaurants and other business groups, has asked Governor Newsom to delay the requirements.
Over the last two years California has passed regulations that have crushed freelancers’ ability to operate, created diversity quotas for corporate boards, used taxpayer dollars to create a task force on reparations, and passed even more laws to limit its citizens’ ability to obtain a legal firearm.
Should this pork law take effect in January, the good people of California have the perfect chance to show us what they value more: Onerous, overbearing business regulations or their bacon.