As our previous post covered an animal rights initiative that would ban greyhound racing in Massachusetts. Today we want to take a look at Proposition 2 in California that would alter the way farm animals are confined. This bill is not the most comprehensive bill for animal abuses in the industry. However, it is a clear step in the right direction. This proposal would ban cages of farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs. It will also bans all confinement for egg laying hens, gestation crates for breeding pigs, and veal crates for veal calves. Lastly, it will institute a penalty of $1000 or up to 6 months in jail if anyone is found in violation of the act.

Supporting this proposition would take a step towards banning animal cruelty that is caused by housing farm animals in unsafe and unsanitary situations.  Earlier this year we wrote a blog detailing the cruelty of the egg industry called The Truth About Eggs. In this post we detailed some of the more serious abuses to egg laying hens, including the fact that hens are kept in ultra tight quarters, depending on the factory, but the USDA reports the average floor space provided is somewhere less than a half a foot per hen. So the ban on battery cages would be a huge improvement to the industry, but will not stop all the abuse including the cruel deaths to male chickens and non egg producing hens.

This bill will also ban the crates used for sows. These pigs are used to breed and are kept in cages so tight that they can not turn around and barely larger than the sow itself for their entire life. And the cages are stacked so tightly together that sometimes there are up to 20 pigs stored in tight quarters. These crates are already banned in the UK, Sweden, and by the EU, although they still make up a large part of the US pig breeding industry. But now California has a chance to change that. If Prop 2 passes, this type of cage will be outlawed. It may not completely improve the quality of life of the pigs, but at least it will alleviate some suffering caused by these cages.

Baby cows used for veal will also released from their confinement if this bill passes. Veal calves are kept in what are referred to as veal crates. They are taken immeadiately from their mothers side, kept chained to a crate where they can not turn around, and denied proper nutrition. The calves are often kept in the dark and are left in unsanitary conditions. Many well known veternarians and other scientists believe these practices to be inhumane and support banning these abuses. Prop 2 will ban the crates, but unfortunately not all the abuses.

Beyond animals these abuses harm, there is one more group to think about: the humans who eat the meat and eggs supplied by these malnourished animals. Because the animals are kept in such tight quarters, it increases the possibility for them to contract diseases that could be passed to humans such as salmonella and e. coli. Also, because the animals are confined their entire lives, they do not exercise and enjoy normal activity, bringing down their overall nutrition (thus bringing the nutrition and health down in their meat). In a report published by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, they scientifically explain the spread of disease to humans through confined farm animal meat and they quote the FDA saying that the cases of these diseases in humans is on the rise in the US.

So thanks for reading our view on Prop 2 in California! We know it won’t solve all the problems, because trust us there are many more abuses and practices that threaten the health of humans. But as we said before, it will make a difference in thousands of animals well being and hopefully will be a step towards elminating several other abuses. We are in Massachusetts, but wish we could vote for this bill. If you are a Californian, we urge you to read the facts and get informed on this issue! California has a chance to end this abuse and set and example for the rest of the country!!