Animal welfare groups Farm Sanctuary and the Humane Society of the United States are celebrating the passage of Proposition 2 by California voters. The legislation passed by a margin of 63 percent to 36 percent in Tuesday’s voting.
The proposition will prohibit the confinement of certain farm animals in structures or cages that do not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs. The measure will phase out California’s use of battery cages for layers, veal crates, and sow gestation crates.
The statute will become operative Jan. 1, 2015. Farming operations will have until that date to implement the new space requirements for their animals.
Farm Sanctuary, the nation's leading farm animal protection organization, termed the passage a “monumental victory for farm animals.”
The National Pork Producers Council also reacted to the legislation’s passage. “We are disappointed that the voters of California adopted a proposition outlawing a husbandry practice deemed appropriate by decades of farmer experience, as well as by university researchers and the nation’s leading veterinarian association,” said Bryan Black, NPPC president and a pork producer from Canal Winchester, Ohio.
“California often is a bellwether, so it’s likely this ban will be pushed in other states,” Black said. “We certainly don’t expect the Humane Society to stop with California.”
Other groups that opposed the measure also reacted. "We are despondent that California voters didn't hear animal welfare experts' messages warning of higher rates of death in non-cage systems, increased rates of smothering, increased incidences of aggression and much more," said Kay Johnson Smith, executive vice president of the Animal Agriculture Alliance. The group is a broad-based coalition of farmers, ranchers, suppliers, packer-processors, private industry and retailers.
Farm Sanctuary's president and co-founder, Gene Baur, released the following statement on the Prop. 2 victory: "The passage of Prop. 2 in the country's largest agricultural state marks a monumental victory for farm animals. This campaign did an amazing job of raising public awareness about the cruel treatment farm animals endure at the hands of an industry that has consistently fought meaningful change for animals."