Back in the last millennium a woman recorded a song, I’m A Woman, that proclaimed,
I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan…
“Bring home the bacon” is an old idiom for earning money.
When that song came out, the reality of a woman bringing home the bacon was not widespread.
Today we’d sing,
I can bring home the bacon, but YOU can fry it up in the pan…
Except in California where, come January 2022, it may be that no one is bringing home the bacon:
The “pig rules” in the headline are explained in the article:
“At the beginning of next year, 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 only 4% of hog operations now comply with the 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, and pork producers will face higher costs to regain a key market.”
A funny thing happened on the way to the ballot box back in 2018.
Nobody told us that voting “Yes” on this:
Could mean, come 2022, no more of this:
I guess we Californians figured the pork and veal and egg producers had plenty of time to get with the guidelines, so no interruptions to having my favorite, the BLT:
That’s right – pile on the bacon, lettuce and tomato, plenty of mayo on that toasted bread, and I’ll show you what “bringing home the bacon” really means.
And when it comes to eating pork, I’m not alone – again, according to the article, Californians consume roughly 15% of all pork produced in the country, about 255 million pounds. Our farms produce only 45 million pounds, so we’re dependent on out-of-state producers not just for a lot of ham and bacon and sausage, but these, as well:
Seriously – no more sausage and pepperoni on my sausage and pepperoni pizza?
And what about this icon:
Did we – unwittingly – vote all 13 varieties SPAM out of our lives?
What about all those luscious, made-from-pork deli meats, served up on charcuterie boards and in antipastos – pancetta, prosciutto, mortadella, salami, capocollo and soppressata?
And what about Dr. Seuss’ famous book:
It sounds like I’m making light of this subject – and I was.
But – what were we Californians thinking, back in 2018, when we voted in favor of Prop 12, but never considered the unintended consequences?
Was our hubris, or arrogance, or just plain ignorance so great that we assumed all the pork, veal and egg producers outside of California would just nod and say, “Sure thing, Californians, we’ll comply with whatever you say!” with no negative impact on us?
Again, from the ABC News article – it appears that veal and egg producers will meet our new standards; however…
“…only 4% of hog operations now comply with the new rules.”
And the reason is simple:
“In Iowa, which raises about one-third of the nation’s hogs, farmer Dwight Mogler (pictured below) estimates the changes would cost him $3 million and allow room for 250 pigs in a space that now holds 300.
“To afford the expense, Mogler said, he’d need to earn an extra $20 per pig and so far, processors are offering far less.”
If Mogler and other farmers don’t comply with the Prop 12 guidelines, they can’t sell their pork in California. This will cause a pork shortage here, and that will cause pork prices to increase. Those increases will be paid for by us, in grocery stores and restaurants.
If Mogler and other farmers do comply with the Prop 12 guidelines, then to cover their increased costs, they’ll pass those costs on to us in grocery stores and restaurants.
After Prop 12 passed, Kitty Block, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said:
“California voters have sent a loud and clear message that they reject cruel cage confinement in the meat and egg industries…millions of veal calves, mother pigs and egg-laying hens will never know the misery of being locked in a tiny cage for the duration of their lives.”
I get it.
Hell, I voted for it.
But when I cast that ballot, I – and I think most of us – just didn’t think about those…
And come January 2022, if – when – this prediction comes true…
…It appears we Californians will be faced with three choices:
- Pay more – a lot more – for pork.
- Eat less – a lot less – pork.
- Head across the state border to buy pork. Perhaps Nevada, Arizona and Oregon are even now getting ready for us…