Animal rights’ activist group Californians for Humane Farms is seeking to ban sow gestation crates. The California initiative requires 650,000 signatures from registered California voters to place the measure on the state’s 2008 ballot. The California group is sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States.

The California animal welfare group claims the purpose of the measure is to “prohibit the cruel confinement of farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up and fully extend their limbs.” The measure also sets a maximum punishment of a $1,000 fine and 180 days in jail for violating the rule if adopted.

The group’s web site, www.humanecalifornia.org, claims that “pigs in gestation crates suffer immensely, both physically and mentally.” Similar bans have already been passed in Arizona and Florida and will likely be sought in Colorado.