Op-Ed: The Supreme Court shouldn’t meddle with California’s standards on meat and eggs
I am an animal lover, and I value them as much as anyone else, but I find that I can’t support legislation that violates the rights of animals.
In this case, the Supreme Court is not being asked to decide whether we should be eating birds or the birds themselves, but whether we should be allowed to force California to follow federal regulations for how birds and eggs are treated.
With just nine words, the Supreme Court rejected a very similar case, allowing eggs from chickens under a federal law against birds being raised for food that can survive until they are fully mature.
If this is what the court is up to, there are lots of other cases where the justices could make a difference that could affect human health.
In the California case, the justices appear poised to say that the Constitution doesn’t protect certain animals that are considered “companion animals,” even though those animals don’t belong to the chicken or dog breeders, and even though the animals are treated with more care than chickens under a federal law that doesn’t allow a lot of them to be slaughtered.
In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court sided with California, ruling that the state’s law is valid, even though a federal law forbidding the killing of chickens before they’re fully grown is constitutional.
The court’s decision is a victory for California’s animal activists but a setback for animals killed in the production of food in this country. We’ve already banned the killing of chickens, but the justices are making it appear that we can’t protect animals as we eat them.
The case centers on H.B. 1396, the state law that makes killing poultry before they’re fully grown illegal. Under the law, poultry producers must follow certain procedures or face a misdemeanor charge, and it provides for $20,000 in fines.
The only way to read the law as being valid is to assume that the poultry producers have to follow some procedures, but there’s no information about how they do that — how are they held responsible for a mistake that can happen because they didn’t follow the same procedures as their neighbors?
In a 3-2 decision, the court said it’s not