Thank you, California!
In a historic victory, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 2, a landmark measure that bans three of the cruelest factory farming confinement systems statewide by 2015: battery cages, veal crates and gestation crates. By a vote of more than 60 percent, Californians sent a clear message to big agribusiness that cruelty to animals is unacceptable.
While Prop 2 will curtail the suffering of millions of animals in California, the repercussions throughout the country promise to be even more profound: As California goes, so goes the rest of the nation. California’s new law against animal cruelty holds the potential to spark an unstoppable precedent for change in the way farm animals are treated nationwide.
Although veal crates, gestation crates and battery-cage confinement systems have been banned throughout Europe, they remain common across most of the United States. With the passage of Prop 2, California becomes the 5th state to outlaw gestation crates (joining Florida, Arizona, Oregon and Colorado) and the third to outlaw veal crates (joining Arizona and Colorado). Perhaps most significantly, it becomes the first state in the nation to ban battery cages for egg-laying hens, who are killed in far greater numbers than either pigs or calves.
De-beaked shortly after hatching, and crammed five or more into a cage the size of a filing drawer, each egg-laying hen is provided less space than a sheet of typing paper to live her entire life. Now, California egg producers will be required to provide birds with enough space to turn around, stand up and spread their wings. This ban on battery cages sets the stage for other states to follow in California’s path, ultimately affecting many millions more animals each year.
To be very clear: as a vegan, I'm fundamentally opposed to all forms of animal agriculture. After all, even a larger cage is still a cage, from which chickens, pigs and cows are freed only to be slaughtered. But the impact of California’s passing of Prop 2 will send ripples across the nation, and hopefully force people to think about where their food comes from.
Thank you to everybody who gave their time and energy to help achieve this phenomenal victory. Together, we are making a difference!
See you on the trail -- and thank you again, California voters!