Proposal to provide pigs more space portends pork shortage


Photo by The Crusader Staff

A possible pork shortage may be looming for Californians.

Charles Chu ’24, Staff Reporter

California Courts are exploring the idea of a new regulation, dedicating 24 square feet to each pig raised.

Currently, each pig is dedicated 13-16 square feet of space. This new law proposes that this is insufficient space, and for perspective, a U.S. jail cell for two inmates is 48 square feet. On the other hand, this new regulation may have unwanted consequences.

For one, this restriction poses a few questions in terms of what effect it will have on the environment. Land is a finite resource, and this restriction may result in farms choosing to expand to accommodate more pigs.

Regarding these effects, Michael O’Brien, AP Environmental teacher, said, “We need to balance environmentalism and environmental science.”

The wish to provide pigs more living space is an example of environmentalism, focusing on humanely raising the pigs.

In terms of environmental science, this law may have a more counterproductive effect, forcing farmers to impose on more land, and decimating the soil as a result. California consumes 15 percent of the pork in the United States, however most of this pork is sourced from other states.

We need to balance environmentalism and environmental science.”

— Michael O'Brien

This law is likely to cause a pork shortage in California, as the out-of-state farms will be slow to adapt. This shortage will pose questions of its own.

O’Brien said, “With this new law, how can we feed the people? Land is finite, and we will need to find something to feed the people.”

Though it is possible for laws like this to push the population towards less meat consumption, it is not likely, and therefore, California consumers must balance practicality and ideals in order to find a proper solution.