With a little more than two months until the November 2018 midterm elections, animal advocates, and really anyone that cares about where their food comes from, should be watching Proposition 12. The measure was introduced by Prevent Cruelty California and is backed by a collective of nonprofits. The Humane Society is the main sponsor of the measure, and many nonprofits are throwing support behind it including The Humane League and Mercy For Animals to name a few. If passed, Proposition 12 would ban the sale of veal, eggs, and pork from facilities that fail to provide enough space for caged animals.
If passed, Proposition 12 would ban the sale of veal, eggs, and pork from facilities that fail to provide enough space for caged animals.
In California, livestock producers and factory farms are already required to comply with cage-size standards under Proposition 2, which was put into effect in 2015. Proposition 12 aims to have more of a concise definitions, specifying the square footage required for caged animals, and banning the sale of calves raised for veal, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens confined in areas below a specific number of square feet. The measure also puts pressure on other states that don’t necessarily have these same standards; livestock producers that do not follow the requirements will not be able to sell their product in California.
“Protection for farm animals is no longer only an issue that matters to a select few,” said John Oberg, a spokesperson for The Humane League. “The health and happiness of pigs, cows, and chickens matter to the mainstream as they become more aware of the issues on factory farms.” Oberg also told LA Progressive that this proposition has the potential to be the biggest legislative victory for animals in history, not just in the state, but in the country.
“Mainstream” is the operative word; people care about where their food comes from, now more than ever. And many are simply choosing to ditch animal products altogether. The number of plant-based eateries has increased substantially in states like California. One only needs to do a quick Google search of ‘vegan restaurants in LA’ to see not only the abundance of veg-restaurants, but also restaurants like steakhouses offering clearly labeled vegan items. But whether or not one eats animal products, people still want to see a more compassionate food system. That is what Proposition 12 represents.
While liberal-leaning California will likely vote Proposition 12 through, it does have its opponents. Many say it does not go far enough and is an attempt at redemption after what opponents call a measure sponsored by the very organizations that “botched” Proposition 2.
Below, we break down some additional info on Proposition 12, so you can decide if you will vote ‘yes’ on election day.
Who is behind Proposition 12?
Prevent Cruelty California, now leading with the ‘YES on 12’ slogan, was initiated and is sponsored by The Humane Society.
Who is for Proposition 12 and why?
Essentially, a long list of animal rights organizations are staunch supporters of Proposition 12. (Full list here.) It is also endorsed by the California Democratic Party, United Farm Workers, Center for Food Safety, and others. The position of Proposition 12 supporters is that it’s cruel and inhumane to lock animals in tiny cages for their whole lives. Such confinement causes extreme suffering and increases food safety risks. Supporters contend that farm animals and California consumers deserve protection from such inhumane and substandard products in the marketplace. More about arguments for a ‘yes’ on Proposition 12 here.
Who is against Proposition 12 and why?
Californians Against Cruelty, Cages, and Fraud is leading the campaign in opposition to the initiative, which is sponsored by The Humane Farming Association (HFA). HFA labeled the measure the ‘rotten egg initiative.’ Also, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) oppose Proposition 12, essentially saying it does not go far enough, and detracts from larger issues associated with factory farming.
Another opposition argument comes from The Association of California Egg Farmers, in this statement: "With this new initiative [Proposition 12] now calling for full compliance by the end of 2021, HSUS is reneging on the original agreement and this expedited timeline may result in supply disruptions, price spikes and a shortage of eggs for sale.” The National Pork Producers Council, said that, "Livestock production practices should be left to those who are most informed about animal care — farmers — and not animal rights activists.” More about the opposition here.
When would Proposition 12 go into effect?
If passed, it would go into effect the beginning of 2021.
If passed, who will enforce the measure?
If farmers don’t comply with Proposition 12 (if passed), they can face fines from the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Department of Public Health.
What will the fiscal impact of Proposition 12 be?
There is a potential for a decrease in state and local tax revenues from farm businesses, although this reduction likely not to exceed the low millions of dollars, annually. Enforcing the measure may cost the state up to ten million dollars annually.
What can you do to help support Proposition 12?
If you aren’t a ‘Cube of Truth’ going, sign waving, signature-gather person, that’s ok. If you are on the ‘YES on 12’ train, an easy and fun way to support Proposition 12, and animal rights in general, is to participate in the Prevent Cruelty California October 7th voter outreach initiative: they are calling for people across California to host a ‘YES on 12 House Party’ to help expose neighbors, friends and family to what Proposition 12 is, and why it matters.
Their goal is to set a record for the most ballot-initiative house parties ever held on one day. They have a number of resources to help you throw your party, here. And you don’t have to go it alone; hook up with a friend or colleague and co-host an event.
If you are not up for hosting a shindig, consider a good old fashion donation, which can be directed at the initiative group, Prevent Cruelty California or any of the great nonprofits helping with the efforts, like The Humane Society and The Humane League.
Anna Keeve is a contributing writer for PRNews and the founder of PlantBasedPopUp.
(Photo courtesy of The Humane League)