In February, a judge ruled that the Federal Meat Inspection Act preempts state law, because state law differs from and adds to the federal law and usurps the authority of federal veterinarians and inspectors. Now, according to the National Meat Association, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has vacated an injunction of a California law that bans the slaughter of non-ambulatory livestock of all species. The matter has been remanded to the lower court for further proceedings.
NMA officials called the appeals court's decision disappointing. According to NMA, the court has deemed non-ambulatory swine as a "kind of animal" and therefore not subject to USDA inspection regulations if a state requires immediate euthanasia, as the California law does.
NMA CEO Barry Carpenter points out that this California law fails to distinguish between livestock at rest and livestock that have no independent mobility. That is a critical and potentially illegal failing for a state law that applies to animals on the premises of a USDA-inspected plant and under the jurisdiction of the Federal Meat Inspection Act.