In 2009, in reaction to a disturbing Humane Society video documenting the mistreatment animals at one of its slaughterhouses, California passed a law banning the purchase, sale and butchering of animals that are unable to walk to their demise.
Such non-ambulatory, “downer” animals were to be immediately euthanized. But the Federal Meat Inspection Act says that for some animals, in this case swine, an inspector should determine if the animal is sick and unfit for human consumption, or merely tired and lazy.
During yesterday’s arguments it appeared that the Justices are incline to strike down California’s law because Federal law trumps, or preempts, State law. Still, it’s not that simple.
Justice Breyer: “Do we have to write an 11-part opinion where we treat each of these different things, which are different, separately and analyze it? To write an 11 part opinion or do we treat each of these differently separately and analyze it. I’m not trying to get out of work. I just want to know.”
Justice Scalia: “I’d like to get out of the work, to tell you the truth.”
WaPo story here.