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In April 2018, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) celebrated the attainment of 600,000 signatures solidifying its Prevent Cruelty California measure moving to the November 2018 ballot.

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The measure, which would ban the sale of veal, eggs, and pork from facilities that don’t provide a minimum standard of space for caged animals, had overwhelming support, surpassing the 365,000-signature threshold needed to become a ballot measure Californians will vote on in the upcoming midterm elections.

Many call this historic in the animal rights’ movement, and if passed it will be pivotal; California has long been seen as a leader on progressive animal rights initiatives, and when California moves, so do other states.

Many call this historic in the animal rights’ movement, and if passed it will be pivotal; California has long been seen as a leader on progressive animal rights initiatives, and when California moves, so do other states. While California itself passed a measure in 2008 that requires factory farms in the state to provide a certain amount of space for animals being raised for slaughter, this initiative takes it one step further by banning the sale of out-of-state producers that don’t follow similar standards.

Early polling shows that 72 percent of Californians say they would vote “yes” for the measure on election day, and the majority of Californians believe that the way animals are currently treated in factory farming situations is unethical and needs reform.

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Another initiative, passed in the California State Legislature earlier this month, would make it illegal for cosmetics manufacturers to sell any finished product or component that was knowingly tested on animals. The California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act was proposed by Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton), and is sponsored by organizations such as Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL) and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). The next hurdle for the legislation is to pass through the state’s Assembly, which will make its decision by the end of September.

"The California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act would save thousands of animals’ lives each year while making cosmetics safer for humans,” says Judie Mancuso, founder and president of Social Compassion in Legislation. "This policy is tried and true as the European Union implemented a similar law over 5 years ago and the sky didn’t fall. Animals have been saved while companies have flourished and grown without cruelty as part of their business model."

Since 2000, it has been illegal to actually test cosmetics on animals within the state, but if the California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act is passed, California would be the first state to have such a law banning the sale of products tested elsewhere.

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Both Prevent Cruelty California and California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act are poised to influence the behavior of producers and manufactures outside the state. And as the fifth largest economy in the world, that is a lot of influence and potential to affect change.

Anna Keeve