California’s Proposition 2

In November of 2008, Proposition 2, or the Standards For Confining Farm Animals appeared on the ballot in California, where it passed with 63.5% of the vote. This legislation is predicted to have a huge negative impact on pork, veal, and egg production in the state. Bob French has more in this week’s From The Ground Up.

"One of the biggest supporters of proposition 2 is actually one of animal agriculture’s biggest enemies, and they sound very tame but they’re very powerful and that’s the Humane Society of the United States, who have two main missions. The first one is to ban animal agriculture and livestock production, food production from being in the United States and the second one is to ban hunting."

Jodi Sterle is the State Extension Swine Specialist and an assistant professor at Texas A&M and says California’s Proposition 2 basically bans modern housing systems for veal, sows, and laying hens.

"That bill states that every animal in those pens must be able to stand, turn around, and lay down in what we call full recumbency without touching another animal, which to a lay person sounds very normal. So even though science tells us the optimum floor space and area that each of those animals needs, they’re basically preying on emotions to make it much tougher as well a less profitable for producers to provide food to feed the world.”

Sterle recently gave a group of veterinary students a tour of a large confinement swine operation in the Texas Panhandle. She asked the students if they were surprised by anything they saw.

“And they were like those sows looked happy and they were clean, and you know they had seen the PETA videos and the negative publicity that is sexy and interesting that gets on the news, and to show well taken care of clean, you know what they perceive as happy animals doesn’t really make the headlines."

Agriculture interest groups say the overwhelming passage of Proposition 2 points out the work that is needed to be done in both the education and political arenas to make sure that consumers are making informed decisions when they go to the ballot box. I’m Joe Brown, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.

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