Priorities: As criminals are released and crime skyrockets in CA, new ‘pig rules’ in the state could lead to huge bacon shortage

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA- A reworked menu and long hours helped Jeannie Kim mange to keep her San Francisco restaurant alive during the coronavirus pandemic, but now she fears her breakfast-focused diner could be ruined within months by new rules making bacon increasingly difficult to get in California. 

Kim, who for the last 15 years has run SAMS American Eatery on the city’s busy Market Street, said:

“Our number one seller is bacon, eggs and hash brown. It could be devastating for us.”

According to reports, at the beginning of 2022, California will begin enforcing an animal welfare proposition approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2018 that requires more space for breeding pigs, egg-laying chickens and veal calves.

National veal and egg producers are optimistic they can meet the new standards, but currently only 4 percent of these operations comply with new rules. 

Unless the courts intervene or the state temporarily allows non-compliant meat to be sold in the state, California will lose almost all of its pork supply, much of which comes from Iowa. Pork producers will face higher costs to regain a key market.

For years, animal welfare organizations have reportedly been pushing for more humane treatment of farm animals, but the new California rules could be a rare case of consumers paying a price for their beliefs.

With little time left to build new facilities, inseminate sows and process the offspring by January 2022, it is hard to see how the pork industry can adequately supply California, which consumes roughly 15 percent of all pork produced in the country.

Matt Sutton, the public policy director for the California Restaurant Association, said in a statement:

“We are very concerned about the potential supply impacts and therefore cost increases.”

According to Rabobank, a global food and agriculture financial services company, reported that California’s restaurants and groceries use about 255 million pounds of pork a month, but its farms only produce 45 million pounds.

The National Pork Producers Council has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture for federal aid to help pay for retrofitting hog facilities around the nation to fill the gap. Hog farmers said they haven’t complied because of the cost and because California has not yet issued formal regulations on how the new standards will be administered and enforced.

Barry Goodwin, an economist at North Carolina State University, estimated the extra costs at 15 percent more per animal for a farm with 1,000 breeding pigs. 

According to a study by the Hatamiya Group, a consulting firm hired by opponents of the state opposition, if half the pork supply was suddenly lost in California, bacon prices would jump 60 percent, meaning a $6 package would rise to about $9.60. 

At one hog farm in Iowa, sows are kept in open-air crates measuring 14-square-feet when they join a herd and then for a week as part of the insemination process before moving to larger, roughly 20-square foot group pens with other hogs.

Both spaces are less than the 24-square feet rule required by the California law to give breeding pigs enough room to turn around and to extend their limbs. Other operations keep sows in the crates nearly all of the time, which also would not be in compliance.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture said that although the detailed regulations are not finished, the key rules about space have been known for years. The agency said:

“It is important to note that the law itself cannot be changed by regulations and the law has been in place since the Farm Animal Confinement Proposition (Prop 12) passed by a wide margin in 2018.”

In Iowa, which raises about one-third of the nation’s hogs, farmer Dwight Mogler estimates the changes would cost him $3 million and allow room for 250 pigs in a space that now holds 300.

Mogler said to afford the expense, he would need to earn an extra $20 per pig and so far, processors are offering far less. He asked:

“The question to us is, if we do these changes, what is the next change going to be in the rules two years, three years, five years ahead?”

Kim, the San Francisco restaurant owner, said she survived the pandemic by paring back her menu, driving hundreds of miles herself through the Bay Area to deliver food and reducing staff. She said she is especially worried for small restaurants whose customers can’t afford big price increases and that specialize in Asian and Hispanic dishes that typically include pork. She added:

“You know, I work and live with a lot of Asian and Hispanic populations in the city and their diet consists of pork. Pork is huge. It’s almost like bread and butter.”

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No more church bans in California: State ordered to pay $1.35 million in legal fees after shutting down churches

May 23rd, 2021

CALIFORNIA — A U.S. District Court judge in California has approved a settlement of a lawsuit on behalf of a church and its related ministry against Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-California).

The implication of the settlement is that it is the first statewide and permanent injunction in the country against COVID-19 restrictions on churches and places of worship.

It is also the first time a governor will have a permanent injunction against him on behalf of houses of worship.

In addition to easing statewide restrictions that pertain to religious gatherings, California will now also pay $1.35 million to compensate the legal group that filed and won the lawsuit.

Last year, Liberty Counsel filed the lawsuit on behalf of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry against Gov. Newsom.

The church and its ministry sued the governor over his restrictive COVID-19 lockdown order, which severely limited the size and scope of worship gatherings.

The lawsuit argued that Newsom’s draconian order was a violation of the groups’ religious freedom, and a federal judge agreed.

On May 14, the Honorable Jesus G. Bernal wrote in part:

“It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant, Gavin Newsom, in his official capacity as Governor of the State of California, all State officers, agents, employees, and all other persons in active concert or participation with him, are hereby permanently enjoined state-wide from issuing or enforcing regulations issued in connection with the COVID-19 State of Emergency declared on March 4, 2020 that impose:

“(1) any capacity or numerical restrictions on religious worship services and gatherings at places of worship … [and]

“(2) any new public health precautions on religious worship services and gatherings at places of worship not in the current guidance, unless those precautions are either identical to, or at least as favorable as, the precautions imposed on other similar gatherings of similar risk, as identified by the Supreme Court…; and

“(3) any restrictions or prohibitions on the religious exercise of singing and chanting during religious worship services and gatherings at places of worship besides generally applicable restrictions or prohibitions included in the guidance for live events and performances.”

Liberty Counsel pointed out that the settlement referenced several Supreme Court opinions, including Harvest Rock Church v. Newsom, which include a long list of similar nonreligious activity the High Court set forth as comparable gatherings, such as grocery stores, warehouses, big box stores, transportation, infrastructure, telecommunications, and more:

“In other words, churches and places of worship may never again have discriminatory restrictions placed on them that are not equally applied to a long list of ‘critical infrastructure’ or ‘essential services’ as outlined in several Supreme Court precedents cited in the settlement agreement.”

The judge’s order further clarified that it did “not prohibit the State from issuing recommendations, best practices, precautions, or other measures, as long as such promulgations make clear to the public that they are voluntary and not enforceable.”

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In a statement, Liberty Counsel noted the permanence of the ruling:

“Under the settlement agreement, discriminatory restrictions on worship and religious gatherings may no longer be applied to churches and places of worship.”

Harvest Rock Church’s founding Pastor Ché Ahn was pleased and said:

“This is a momentous day for churches in America! After nearly a yearlong battle defending our religious freedoms, our lawsuit has reached a permanent settlement in our favor.

I am thrilled to see the complete reversal of the last discriminatory restrictions against churches in California, knowing this case will act as a precedent, not only in our state, but also in our nation.

“We are incredibly grateful to our attorney Mat Staver and to Liberty Counsel for their relentless support and fierce determination. Most of all, we give all the glory to God for moving mightily in this historic season!”

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of the legal group Liberty Counsel, said:

“The district court retains jurisdiction into the foreseeable future, whether it’s next year or ten years down the road.

“If there is any violation of this order, California will be hauled back into court for contempt of court and face significant sanctions.”

Liberty Counsel said Newsom had imposed the most severe restrictions on churches and home Bible study groups in the nation, so the settlement represents a victory:

“So, this is a great victory and it covers every church and place of worship in California [where some] churches were fined over $3 million.”

Due to the injunction those fines will now go away, according to Staver. In a statement, he said:

“Governor Gavin Newsom’s COVID restrictions intentionally discriminated against churches while providing preferential treatment to many secular businesses and gatherings.

“The Supreme Court intervened multiple times to provide relief. California may never again place discriminatory restrictions on churches and places of worship.

“Gov. Gavin Newsom has now been permanently quarantined and may not violate the First Amendment rights of churches and places of worship again.

“We are grateful for Pastor Ché Ahn, Harvest Rock Church, and Harvest International Ministry. Pastor Ahn’s leadership and courage has toppled the tyranny and freed every pastor and church in California.”

Staver also noted:

“Maine right now is the most restrictive in the country. We represent Pastor Ken Graves of Calvary Chapel of Bangor, and our goal is to make sure Caesar never can go and touch these churches anymore.”

Liberty Counsel plans to use the settlement in California this past week to end coronavirus restrictions for churches around the country.

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