Could 10 Square Feet Really Be the End of Bacon in California?
You may have seen the recent headline click-baitish headline "Bacon May Disappear in California" floating around several media outlets lately. This is due to the fact that an Animal Welfare law California passed in 2018 requiring sows to have more space will soon go into effect (Jan 2022) after failing an appeal from the National Pork Council. Almost all pork consumed and produced in America is raised in conventional barns (CAFOS, or which some call Factory Farms) where the mama sows live in gestation crates for their pregnancy - 14 square feet, not even big enough for them to turn around in. They can also be raised in a group housing system - more sows in a bigger area, but oftentimes it works out to be the same square feet per sow. While there are federal regulations around treatments of animals used in research, there is no federal regulation around treatment of animals raised for food. California implementing this new law at the state level, a law that requires sows to have a big enough pen to turn around in, is now one of the strictest in the country. That is mind boggling to us, and a real testament on the state of our food industry. It has been met with mixed feelings across different groups of Americans. Victory for animal welfare activists, frustrations from some knowing the price of pork will go up, and defeat and anger by CAFO producers that have to spend millions to modify their barns (though they will lobby for tax payer dollars to do so). I hope you enjoy this simple video of Tanner and I explaining this and the comparison of what fourteen square feet (current standard) and 24 square feet (new California regulation) looks like. P.S. 1915 uses common sense practices, and our "maternity suites" are 1,536 sq feet per sow, so for you Californians that consume our meats - you have nothing to worry about. There are also many other farms like us that practice similarly, visit eatwild.com to take a look!