It’s been nearly a year since Californians voted in favor of Proposition 2, the measure to ban the use of battery cages, veal crates, and gestation crates in the state. Now, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has signed a bill banning these intensive confinement systems in Michigan as well. The new bill mandates that veal crates be phased out within three years, and battery cages and gestation crates within ten years.
This legislation will impact countless animals. There are about 100,000 breeding sows and more than 10 million laying hens in Michigan. The Cattleman’s Beef Board ranks Michigan as a leading veal-producing state although no official numbers are available.
There is absolutely no reason for anyone to eat pork, eggs, and veal, but as long as people insist on doing so anyway, the legislation is highly significant. It will give animals more room to stand up, lie down, turn around, and extend their limbs. When prop 2 passed in California, caring people predicted that other states would also enact stronger animal welfare laws. Hopefully, this new “trend” will spread across the nation. Who knows where it will lead?
California, the nation’s top dairy state, has already taken another step to reduce the unnecessary suffering of farmed animals. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger just signed a bill banning tail docking of “dairy” cows. The precedent-setting new law, which was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, takes effect in January, and should also have a far-reaching impact.
If you read my previous post about PETA’s undercover investigation of a filthy Pennsylvania farm that supplies milk to Land O’Lakes, you know about the egregious abuses take place on that farm, as well as the routine abuses that cows on dairy farms endure. In order to make milking easier, many dairy farmers amputate cows’ tails by binding them tightly with elastic bands, causing the skin and tissue to slowly die and fall off. This unnecessary practice is painful and leaves the cows unable to swat away flies, which can lead to the spread of disease.
While California’s new law will help reduce suffering, the kindest solution is to stop buying dairy products altogether. Many nondairy alternatives, including soy, rice, almond, and hemp milks, are available in supermarkets and health food stores.
As more and more people realize that animals deserve protection from routine farming practices like intensive confinement, tail docking, branding, castration, and debeaking, they are one step closer to realizing that there’s no good reason to eat animals in the first place. For free vegan recipes, see www.VegCooking.com. And for much more on healthy eating see our sister site, Healthy and Green Living. Start with Top 10 Superfoods for Fall.