Niman Ranch Reaffirms Compliance with California’s Proposition 12 as Countdown to Implementation Continues

DENVER — Chris Oliviero, Niman Ranch’s General Manager, shared the following statement regarding California’s Proposition 12, The Farm Animal Confinement Initiative. This statement followed a panel discussion held on August 19, 2020, with thought leaders on strategies to improve animal welfare. Proposition 12 was cited as a key lever to drive changes in the pork industry.

“Niman Ranch is fully compliant with California’s Proposition 12 (The Farm Animal Confinement Initiative) and Massachusetts’ Question 3 (The Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals) to ban the sale of meat from producers using gestation crates. Niman Ranch goes much further, with all farms third-party certified by Humane Farm Animal Care (aka Certified Humane®) and all animals raised outdoors or in deeply bedded pens with a minimum of 150 percent more space per sow than the current industry standard.

“Since the company’s founding in 1979, Niman Ranch has set the gold standard for animal welfare, far exceeding all legislative guidelines and recommendations. In fact, Niman Ranch worked with the Animal Welfare Institute in 1998 to create the first U.S. humane care guidelines for pigs. In addition, Dr. Temple Grandin, the renowned animal welfare expert, helped Niman Ranch write all our beef, pork and lamb protocols and continues to review them annually.”

Rachel Dreskin, Executive Director of Compassion in World Farming USA, shared the following comment responding to Niman Ranch’s position on Proposition 12 compliance:

“Niman Ranch has a long-standing and celebrated commitment to higher animal welfare practices and we’ve been proud to have worked with them for many years. Disclosing that they meaningfully exceed the requirements of Proposition 12 and Question 3 signals that producer compliance is not only possible, but is already happening. I heartily applaud Niman Ranch’s efforts to lead the charge on higher welfare production and on transparency around legislative compliance. Consumers do not support cruel cage confinement, and we are pleased to see Niman Ranch continuing to meaningfully drive forward this necessary progress for farmed animals.”


California’s Proposition 12 requires farmers to provide more space for egg-laying hens, breeding pigs and calves raised for veal including that these animals be able to stand up, lie down, turn around and extend their limbs. It would also ban the sale of products in the state that do not meet the new standards.

The changes would be phased in over the next several years. Aside from ensuring animals are able to engage in the behavior abilities listed above, the phase-in takes place as follows:

  • Starting in 2020: Egg-laying hens would be required to have at minimum 1 square foot of floor space (typically they’re confined to 67 square inches).
  • Each calf raised for veal would be required to have 43 square feet of floor space.
  • Starting in 2022: Egg-laying hens must be in cage-free housing and provided specific environmental enrichments.
  • Breeding pigs would be required to have 24 square feet of floor space per pig.

In addition to providing specific area requirements for animals covered by the act, Proposition 12 makes it illegal for businesses to knowingly sell eggs and meat that come from animals that are raised in ways that do not meet the new requirements. This ban applies to products from both California and out-of-state.

Niman Ranch is a community of more than 750 independent family farmers and ranchers who raise pork, beef and lamb traditionally, humanely and sustainably to deliver the Finest-Tasting Meat in the World®. Niman Ranch is the largest farmer and rancher network in North America to be Certified Humane®. The protein of choice for America’s most celebrated chefs, Niman Ranch is also the premier option for discerning home cooks looking for meats Raised with Care®, with no antibiotics or added hormones—ever. Follow Niman Ranch on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.