Quantcast

This Victorious California Ballot Measure Could Improve the Lives of Farm Animals Nationwide

Animals
Lester Lefkowitz / Stone / Getty Images

One of the biggest winning groups in Tuesday's midterm elections didn't even get to cast a ballot: the nation's farm animals.


California's Proposition 12, which requires farmers to give more space for hens, pigs and veal calves, passed with 61 percent of the vote, as ABC 7 News reported Wednesday.

But the new law could impact animals well outside California's borders, as The Huffington Post pointed out:

Proposition 12, also known as the Farm Animal Confinement Initiative, also will eventually ban the sale of agricultural products in California that don't meet the state's new requirements. That means the new law may influence how farmers across the country raise their animals.

The law will be implemented in two stages.

1. By 2020, all California egg-laying hens must have at least one square foot of space, and each veal calf must have at least 43 square feet of space.

2. By 2022, female breeding pigs must have at least 24 feet of space, all chickens must be raised cage-free with at least 1 square foot of space each, and all agricultural products sold in California must have been raised in conditions that meet these standards, even if they come from other states.

California voters already tried to legislate more room for animals in 2008 with the passage of Proposition 2. But that law didn't end up being effective enough for animal rights advocates because it only called for more space without setting numbered requirements. That meant that state officials decided that farmers could still keep chickens in cages as long as they were large enough.

But Proposition 2 provided a successful trial run to see whether its requirements for out-of-state farmers would hold up in court. Twelve states sued to stop the law from applying to producers in other states, and judges so far have rejected those suits, The Palm Springs Desert Sun reported.

However, the implementation of both laws is threatened by a provision in the House version of the Farm Bill, as The Desert Sun explained:

The so-called "King Amendment," introduced by Steve King, R-IA, whose district produces more eggs than any other in the nation, stipulates that states can't impose animal welfare standards onto products imported from other states.

King says the law would mitigate "the serious economic harm the California law is currently causing to egg producers and consumers in Iowa and elsewhere."

There is no guarantee that King's amendment will make it into the final draft, though. More than 30 senators have written a letter opposing the amendment, and the 2014 version of the Farm Bill excised similar language before passing.

While Proposition 12 was supported by a wide coalition of animal welfare and environmental groups including the Humane Society of the United States and the Sierra Club California, not all animal lovers thought it was a good idea.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) opposed the proposition because, they argued, it would still allow birds to remain caged until 2022, and didn't mandate nearly enough space after that date.

"We can't and don't consider it remotely humane to confine birds to a miserly 1 square foot of space—and this wouldn't even be required until years in the future," PETA wrote in a blog post explaining its position.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Bumblebees flying and pollinating a creeping thyme flower. emeliemaria / iStock / Getty Images

It pays to pollinate in Minnesota.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of icebergs on Arctic Ocean in Greenland. Explora_2005 / iStock / Getty Images

The annual Arctic thaw has kicked off with record-setting ice melt and sea ice loss that is several weeks ahead of schedule, scientists said, as the New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Sled dog teams pull researchers from the Danish Meteorological Institute through meltwater on the Greenland ice sheet in early June, 2019. Danish Meteorological Institute / Steffen M. Olsen

By Jon Queally

In yet the latest shocking image depicting just how fast the world's natural systems are changing due to the global climate emergency, a photograph showing a vast expanse of melted Arctic ice in Greenland — one in which a pair of sled dog teams appear to be walking on water — has gone viral.

Read More Show Less
CAFOs often store animal waste in massive, open-air lagoons, like this one at Vanguard Farms in Chocowinity, North Carolina. Bacteria feeding on the animal waste turns the mixture a bright pink. picstever / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

By Tia Schwab

It has been almost a year since Hurricane Florence slammed the Carolinas, dumping a record 30 inches of rainfall in some parts of the states. At least 52 people died, and property and economic losses reached $24 billion, with nearly $17 billion in North Carolina alone. Flood waters also killed an estimated 3.5 million chickens and 5,500 hogs.

Read More Show Less
Members of the NY Renews coalition gathered before New York lawmakers reached a deal on the Climate and Communities Protection Act. NYRenews / Twitter

By Julia Conley

Grassroots climate campaigners in New York applauded on Monday after state lawmakers reached a deal on sweeping climate legislation, paving the way for the passage of what could be some of the country's most ambitious environmental reforms.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
In this picture taken on June 4, an Indian boatman walks amid boats on the dried bed of a lake at Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, on the eve of World Environment Day. Sam Panthaky / AFP / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

Nearly 50 people died on Saturday in one Indian state as record-breaking heatwaves across the country have caused an increasingly desperate situation.

Read More Show Less
A man carries a poster in New York City during the second annual nationwide March For Science on April 14, 2018. Kena Betancur / Getty Images

By Will J. Grant

In an ideal world, people would look at issues with a clear focus only on the facts. But in the real world, we know that doesn't happen often.

People often look at issues through the prism of their own particular political identity — and have probably always done so.

Read More Show Less

YinYang / E+ / Getty Images

In a blow to the Trump administration, the Supreme Court ruled Monday to uphold a Virginia ban on mining uranium, Reuters reported.

Read More Show Less