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A state law mandating "humane treatment" of downed livestock headed for the slaughterhouse was unanimously overturned Monday by the Supreme Court.
At issue was whether federal regulations dealing with inspection of domesticated animals about to be killed, processed, and sold for human consumption preempted -- or nullified -- California Penal Code 599f.
Several justices had earlier noted the good intentions behind the state action, but all now agreed that it went too far into the traditional federal arena.
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"The Federal Meat Inspection Act regulates slaughterhouses' handling and treatment of non-ambulatory pigs from the moment of their delivery through the end of the meat production process," wrote Justice Elena Kagan. "California's (law) endeavors to regulate the same thing, at the same time, in the same place -- except by imposing different requirements. The FMIA expressly preempts such a state law."