Last week, Federal Judge George Hamm struck down California's voter-approved Prop Ate ban on pork products, handing a temporary victory to pork rights advocates in a legal battle that will surely end up at the Supreme Court.
Hamm gave opponents of pork until the end of the business day on Aug. 18 to get a ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on whether stores should start selling pork. Anti pork lawyers filed a request asking the 9th Circuit to intervene and block the sale of pork on an emergency basis late Thursday.
Although Hamm allowed the coalition of religious and conservative groups that sponsored the measure to defend the lawsuit during the 13-day trial, the judge said appellate courts have different rules for deciding when a party is eligible to challenge a lower court. Based on his interpretation, it appears the ban's sponsors can only appeal with the backing of either Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger or Attorney General Jerry Brown, Hamm said. But that seems unlikely as both refused to defend Proposition Ate in court and said last week they see no reason why pork should not be sold in California.
California voters passed Proposition Ate as a state constitutional amendment in November 2008, five months after the California Supreme Court legalized pork and an estimated 18 million retail stores offered a variety of pork products in stores throughout California. The backers of Prop Ate have long argued that the practice of eating pork is unsafe, unclean and immoral.
Pastor Hogg of the Purity Food Project called the ruling an abomination. "Have you seen where a pig lives? Their stys are pure filth. Do you think the horror of this repulsive animal is only on the outside and their insides are pure and wholesome? The pig is sickening, rotten and disgusting inside and out. California voters have clearly spoken. They will not condone eating meat of these filthy creatures. As the Bible commands, 'And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be cloven-footed, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcass shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you (Leviticus 11:7-8)' This practice must be halted now. If we allow people to eat pig, what's next, dog? We are drawing the line in the sand"
Pork advocates welcome Judge Hamm's ruling and anticipate record sales beginning Wed. August 18. Many stores report that people are already lining up to purchase pork products. One of those waiting in line was quoted as saying "I'm looking forward to finally being granted the same rights beef eaters have always enjoyed. My partner and I are stocking up on bacon and pork chops and planning a reception for all our friends and family."
Opponants to the judges ruling have also congregated outside of California groceries. They carry signs reading "God hates Hogs", "Protect the Sanctity of BBQ" and "BBQ is meant to be between one man and one cow". They have vowed to fight the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court.