North Dakota joins fight against laws imposing animal production standards

BISMARCK, N.D. - North Dakota has joined 12 other states in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block laws in California requiring any eggs sold there to be from hens with specific space requirements in their cages.

Avian influenza recently reached an egg-laying facility with a ‘couple million’ chickens in Renville County, Minn., according to Dr. Dale Lauer, supervisor of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health poultry testing laboratory in Willmar, Minn. A turkey farm in Meeker County also reported avian influenza, bringing the total number of farms affected in Minnesota to 87. SUBMITTED/Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota and Minnesota Board of Animal Health
We are part of The Trust Project.

BISMARCK, N.D. – North Dakota has joined 12 other states in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block laws in California requiring any eggs sold there to be from hens with specific space requirements in their cages.

The lawsuit, filed by Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, alleges that the California law violates the U.S. Constitution’s interstate commerce clause and is pre-empted by federal law. Other states joining in the suit are Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.                         

North Dakota has also joined another suit filed in U.S. Supreme Court against Massachusetts, which passed a ballot measure banning the sale of pork, veal and eggs produced under confinement. That suit, filed by Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, is also based on the U.S. Constitution’s interstate commerce clause. Other states joining that suit are Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

The laws would force producers across the country to comply or completely forego any sales in California or Massachusetts, or sales to national distributors that may resell products in those two states.

“California and Massachusetts are trying to regulate outside of their borders by imposing their standards on agricultural production in other states,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. “If laws like this are enforced, it will drive up costs for producers and increase food costs for consumers.”


The Humane Society of the United States was a major backer of both ballot initiatives, spending over $4 million in California and over $2 million in Massachusetts.

“Animal activist groups like HSUS are turning to the ballot to get laws passed in line with their ideology, which includes ending animal agriculture,” Goehring said.

The Massachusetts law is scheduled to go into effect in 2022, while the California law has been in effect since 2015.

Related Topics: NORTH DAKOTA
What to read next
Kelly Leo accepted a position as Williams County agriculture and natural resources Extension agent in Williston in 2020, a year after her daughter, Devan Leo, joined the McKenzie County Extension team in Watford City as agriculture and natural resources agent.
International Pollinator Week is June 20-26.
This week on AgweekTV, a new technology could come sweeping through ranchers' pastures. A group of farmers "lawyer up" for proper pay for using their land for the Red River Water Supply pipeline. North Dakota potatoes will soon be under the Golden Arches of McDonald's. We'll visit a grain elevator house and check out updates made since we were first there four years ago. And we profile Harvest Hope Farm's camps, which allows kids to see what farm life is like.
Harvest Hope Farm hosts summer camps that allow youth to experience what life is like on the farm. While it is only for a few hours a day, the little ones get to be immersed in not only the great outdoors, but agriculture as well.