Animals to receive more rights
Published: Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Updated: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 15:10
Current standards for confining farm animals will see a change if Proposition 2 is passed.
According to smartvoter.org, the proposition requires that calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs be confined only in ways that allow these animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely.
Exceptions would be made for transportation, rodeos, fairs, 4-H programs, research, lawful slaughter and veterinary purposes.
If passed, the proposition would go into effect beginning Jan. 1, 2015.
Confining animals in ways that do not meet the standards would be considered a misdemeanor, and offenders can be fined up to a maximum of $1,000 or be imprisoned for up to 180 days or both.
A main objective of the proposition is to prevent cruelty to animals. It is a response to increasing public knowledge of farm animal production methods and how these practices affect animals. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the California Veterinary Medical Association both back the proposition.
"We would never treat our dogs and cats this way, and we shouldn't treat farm animals like this either," HSUS spokesman Josh Balk said. "All animals, even those raised for food, deserve humane treatment."
The Center For Food Safety also supports the proposition, advocating a "yes" vote because extreme intensive confinement can have potentially serious public health and food safety implications and should be phased out, claiming that cramming animals into cages increases the risk of salmonella.
"California has a chance to help stop animal cruelty by making sure they aren't confined in ways that don't even allow them to move more than a few inches their entire lives," Balk said.
He also mentioned that more than 100 family farms are also in support of the proposition because they believe some of the current practices are inhumane, and that better farming practices could result in better food quality and safety.
"By voting ‘yes' (on Prop. 2), we can help farm animals, improve the environment and help family farms."
Opponents of Prop. 2 are also concerned about human health. They say that passing the proposition would worsen the problem, not improve it.
"I am against Proposition 2 because although it has good intentions, it could have serious consequences for both birds and humans," said Nancy Reimers, a doctor of veterinary medicine.
She mentioned these consequences could include the spreading of disease among the birds, such as avian flu. Humans could also be at a higher risk for salmonella and other contamination.
One major opponent of Prop. 2, Californians for Safe Food, argues that the proposition interferes with the California Egg Quality Assurance Plan, which was developed in the 1990s. The program has virtually eliminated salmonella in California eggs, Reimers said.
Currently, many of the chickens in California are raised in what is known as "modern housing," which was established to keep the birds safe from predators and disease.
To accommodate the proposition, more space would be required to properly house the animals. The cost of the additional space could potentially drive some small family farms out of business.
It could result in the decrease of both local and state revenues from farm businesses and result in Californians purchasing their eggs from out of state and Mexico, which does not have the same high standards as California eggs, Reimers said.
Contact Lauren Shiraishi at firstname.lastname@example.org.