California Has a Chance to Make History By Ditching Cages for Farm Animals

California could enact some of the toughest animal welfare standards in the country — banning the sale of all eggs, pork or veal from any animal that has spent its life in a cage.

That’s the goal of animal rights activists in California who are busy gathering signatures in order to place this initiative on the November ballot.

The measure, called the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, was introduced last year by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). It seeks to ban any cages for hens, gestation crates for pigs and veal crates for calves, all of which are so tiny that the animals have barely any room to move. To get the measure on the state ballot requires 365,000 signatures; so far animal lovers are closing in on 200,000, with a May 1 deadline looming.

California’s animal welfare laws are already strong: In 2008 voters approved Proposition 2, which required hens, pigs and calves in California’s farms to have enough room to stand up, lie down and fully extend their limbs. 

This proposed new law has more enforceable language and would also improve life for egg-laying chickens, since egg producers can still use cages but are required to allow more space for the hens.

There would also be a big impact on pork. The pork industry is small in California; most of the pork consumed in the state comes from out-of-state producers, who would be required to comply with the regulations of the new law. A 2012 survey found that around 85 percent of breeding sows in the U.S. spent most of their lives in gestation crates.

“This is history in the making,” says Josh Balk, the vice-president of farm animals protection for HSUS. “This is the greatest shot farm animals have ever had.”

California is not the first state to attempt such a law. In 2016, Massachusetts proposed similar legislation, banning products from confined animals, and it passed by a whopping 78 percent.

There’s a sense amongst animal lovers in California that they would like to take back the lead on farm animal welfare.

Around the U.S. there has been some progress in doing away with cages and crates. In 2015 McDonald’s announced that its locations in the U.S. and Canada would only use eggs from cage-free hens. Since then several major supermarkets, including Safeway, Albertsons and Walmart, have declared that they will be cage-free by 2025

McDonald’s, Subway, Denny’s and many others have also pledged to stop serving pork from pigs held in gestation crates within the next five to ten years. That’s all great news, but it leaves animal supporters wondering why they have to wait so long for these changes.

According to Kitty Block, acting President and CEO of HSUS, “Early voting shows that a commanding 72 percent of Californians say they would vote ‘yes’ on this measure on Election Day.” 

Block also warns that “The powerful pork, veal and egg lobbies are already marshaling their war chests, and we know that they will do everything in their power to keep the measure from coming to the ballot.”

Still, factory farming has only been around since the 1950s, so let’s hope this phenomenon is a relatively short-lived one in the history of farming.

Animals who were born to move around should not be forced to spend their lives in tiny cages. Fellow Californians, get ready to vote!

Photo Credit: thinkstock

83 comments

Greta L
Greta L4 months ago

thanks

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Glennis W
Glennis W4 months ago

Adorable cats all so awesome Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W4 months ago

Not before time Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W4 months ago

That would be really great Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W4 months ago

Very interesting article Thank you for caring and sharing

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Angela J
Angela J4 months ago

Thanks

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Danii P
Danii P4 months ago

thank you

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Olivia M
Olivia M4 months ago

Thank you

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Avalon G
Avalon G4 months ago

Thank you for this interesting Article. Well said.

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Carole R
Carole R4 months ago

Good! Do it California.

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