Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The People Have Spoken: YES! on Prop 2

Congratulations to animal protection advocates throughout the country for getting the word and the vote out for farm animals! In a historic victory, California voters have approved Proposition 2, a landmark measure that bans three of the cruelest factory farming confinement systems – battery cages, veal crates and gestation crates -- in the state by 2015. By a a vote of more than 60 percent Californians sent a clear message to big agribusiness that cruelty to animals is unacceptable.

With this historic vote, California becomes the fifth state to ban gestation crates, the third to ban veal crates and the first to ban battery cages!

While Prop 2 will curtail the suffering of millions of animals in California, the repercussions throughout the country promise to be even more profound: As California goes, so goes the rest of the nation. California’s new laws against farm animal cruelty hold the potential to spark an unstoppable precedent for change in the way farm animals are treated nationwide.

Battery cages - BANNED!

95% of the eggs in the US come from hens who are crammed five or more into a cage the size of a filing drawer, with each given less than the size of a piece of typing paper in which to live her life. Prevented from ever touching the ground or extended their wings, laying hens are among the most tortured of all farm animals.

However, with the passage of Prop 2, egg producers will be required to provide birds with enough space to comfortably turn around and spread their wings. – affecting the lives of almost 19 million animals.
Prop 2 will also end the confinement of pregnant sows inside gestation crates and calves inside veal crates. Although these operations are less prevalent in the state than factory egg farms, it will help the thousands of animals currently confined in them and prevent new factory farms from moving into the state.

Gestation crates - BANNED!
The majority of sows bred to provide piglets to the pork industry spend most of their lives inside gestation crates, 2-foot-wide metal enclosures that severely restrict the animals' movement and thwart their natural behaviors.

Veal crates - BANNED!
Crated veal calves are normally confined inside 2-foot-wide enclosures for their entire lives. Usually chained by their necks, these animals cannot even turn around, stretch their limbs, or lie down comfortably.

California’s passage of Prop 2 has monumental implications for farm animals and is likely to ignite a spark around the country. It has also helped raise the consciousness of millions of people nationwide to the plight of farm animals and helped tear down the veil of deception that the factory farming industry has used for so long to shield consumers from the truth of their cruelties.

Prop 2 was a modest proposal, simply asking that these animals receive the most basic considerations, yet its success prompts a dramatic shift in the public’s recognition that animals are sentient, deserving of protection and should not be treated as mere commodities.

California residents helped make it possible to get factory farming systems noticed by the entire country. From commercials across the state to appearances on national television programs, including Ellen and Oprah, animal advocates were able to spread the word to everyone with a television!

This exposure is a victory not only for the animals in California, but for farm animals across the country. As California sets this precedent to ban ALL three confinement systems, we can expect to see other states step up to the plate.

What Happens Now
Producers in California will have until 2015 to convert to more humane systems for hens, calves and gestating sows. But this is not the end: in fact, it is just the beginning. State legislatures around the country are about to begin their next legislative session – providing animal advocates with an opportunity to educate and advance policy similar to prop 2 in their state. Please take action by contacting your state legislators and urging them to introduce or support similar humane legislation in your state.

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