October 27, 2021
As of January 1, 2022, a new animal confinement regulation in California, Proposition 12, will require all pork sold in the state to come from sows living in a cage-free space of at least 2.2 m2 (24 ft2). duBreton is already compliant with these new requirements, thanks to its animal welfare certifications - Certified Humane Raised and Handled®, GAP 5-steps® and organic – unlike the majority of producers in the U.S. and Canada, who only meet the animal welfare standards required by their respective governments.
In short, Proposition 12, passed in the 2018 U.S. midterm election, will prohibit the sale of meat products that do not meet its animal welfare requirements in California beginning in January 2022. This situation is causing concern among pork producers in Quebec, Canada and the United States, who for the most part do not raise their animals in facilities that meet the minimum standards required by the new law.
Despite growing concerns, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the legal challenge launched by major industry organizations and maintained the January 2022 deadline.
Committed to cage-free farming: duBreton shows the way
Specializing in animal welfare for decades, duBreton farms not only meet, but exceed Proposition 12 standards. The company's network of more than 300 family farms does not use gestation crates, does not allow physical alterations such as tail and tooth clipping, and does not allow the use of antibiotics, growth hormones or animal by-products. Animals are given double or even triple the space and straw bedding to express their natural behavior. "We don't understand why gestation crates still exist," says Vincent Breton, president of duBreton. "Keeping a gestating sow confined for 4 months without the possibility of moving is no longer acceptable to an ever-growing portion of consumers."
The company applauds the California initiative and is pleased to see the industry moving toward total respect for the animal. "We realize how difficult this can be for producers, as we ourselves invested heavily in adopting high animal welfare standards long before it was the trend. We took significant risks, but we knew at the end of the day it was the right thing to do."
Each farm in the duBreton network is audited annually by an independent third-party auditor. "There are a multitude of specific standards that must be met at all times in our humane and organic programs.
With about three months until the provisions of Proposition 12 go into effect, duBreton is working tirelessly with new and existing California customers to facilitate the distribution of its products. "When we first started 'doing animal welfare,' people were skeptical and doubted our success. Today, California is taking a big step towards responsible agriculture and duBreton is one of the visionary producers who will be able to continue to supply this important American market, which is always at the forefront of trends," concludes Vincent Breton.
This transformation of the industry does not stop there, as Massachusetts also passed a similar proposition in 2016 which will be in force in 2023.