The Norman Transcript

Opinion

March 27, 2014

Why defend abusive farming practice?

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Koster told the Farm Bureau that his problem with the law is that it advantages California producers, thus running afoul of the Constitution’s commerce clause. He also claimed that “no one has attempted a case quite like this before.”

But he’s wrong on both counts, and now Pruitt has joined my home state of Oklahoma to Missouri’s frivolous legal challenge, defending cruelty to animals and fighting in favor of federal over state autonomy on issues as basic as agricultural regulation and cruelty to animals — traditional state concerns.

And not only are Koster and Pruitt defending the cruelest imaginable treatment of farm animals and flagrantly violating conservative states’ rights principles, but they are using a legal theory that has failed repeatedly, including in the very circuit that will hear his challenge.

This past August, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on a challenge to a law that is almost identical in form to the one Koster and Pruitt are challenging, but instead of banning an egg production system, it bans both the production and sale of force-fed duck liver.

In response to a challenge from the pâté industry in New York and Canada that makes an argument identical to Pruitt’s, the 9th Circuit stated that when a state bans the same procedure for in-state and out-of-state production, “it is not discriminatory.”

This is a precise and complete retort to the claim that the ban on the sale of battery eggs (from anywhere) somehow advantages California producers — a theory that Missouri’s Koster claimed, inaccurately, has not been tried.

Oklahoma is not a top 10 egg producer; if Pruitt’s and Koster’s legal theory had an inkling of validity, someone with more invested in the issue would have filed a suit long ago. After all, the law passed almost four years ago and takes effect in less than a year.

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