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Supreme Court to hear case that could impact how pigs are treated in Massachusetts and beyond

The United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.
Creative Commons/
The United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on Tuesday in a case that could impact how pigs are treated in Massachusetts and beyond.

In 2016, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot question requiring some farm animals have more space. New rules for pigs were set to take effect this past August.

But they were put on hold after a restaurant trade group in the state filed a lawsuit arguing that Massachusetts should wait to see how the Supreme Court ruled on similar restrictions passed by California voters in 2018.

Both states would require pork produced outside the state but sold within to also meet the new standards.

That could be an unconstitutional restriction on interstate commerce.

Stephen Clark, who leads the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, said the new rules would cause significant challenges for the groups the 1,800 members.

"The biggest concern we heard was going to be about the availability and the cost of compliant pork in the state," he said. "We heard from suppliers across the country and restaurant operators that their pork products [were] going to go through the roof.

Clark said he expects a decision from the high court by next June.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.
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