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Prop 2 will keep us from torturing our food animals

By Gary Bogue
Monday, July 28th, 2008 at 6:30 am in Animal Laws, Animal protection legislation, Animal welfare, Chickens, Food Animal Abuse.

A study produced by UC Davis researchers and released yesterday provides further evidence that Proposition 2 is good for California consumers.

The study, which was reportedly funded by the American Egg Board, evaluated the economic impact of Prop 2, the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, which will appear on the statewide ballot in November.

According to the study’s authors, “little, if any cost increase and no substantial impact on prices to California consumers” will occur when voters approve Prop 2. The measure would prevent the cruel and inhumane confinement of calves raised for veal, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens kept in crates and cages so small they cannot lie down, turn around, or extend their limbs.

Prop 2 is endorsed by leading organizations including the Center for Food Safety, the Consumer Federation of America, The Humane Society of the United States, and the California Veterinary Medical Association.

This latest study also affirms the previous estimate by a California-based poultry economist, who has written that raising egg-laying hens in “cage-free” facilities costs less than a penny per egg more than cramming them into tiny cages. The UC researchers estimate that the cost differential is even less than this previous claim.

“Even though the researchers are aligned with and funded by opponents of Prop 2, their work confirms that consumers won’t pay higher prices as a result of the measure,” said Jennifer Fearing, campaign manager for the Yes on 2 campaign. “The latest Field Poll shows nearly two-thirds of California voters support Prop 2 — a wider margin of support than any other initiative on November’s ballot.”

Dear readers:
On Aug. 19, 2005, I wrote a story about an egg farm in Gilroy, California, that I was allowed to visit. Here is a brief excerpt:

By Gary Bogue
Times Staff Writer

You first notice the smell when you walk into the huge warehouse housing a commercial egg farm in Gilroy. It’s awful.
About 160,000 white leghorn hens fill a building roughly the length of two football fields. They have been debeaked, their beaks cut in half, so they can’t peck each other.
They are crammed in tiny wire cages, five to seven to a cage, squeezed so tightly together they can barely move, so they just pile on top of one another.
This is standard California egg farm operation as seen by a group that arrived Thursday to save some of the birds after the sale of the farm.
No one cleans the birds. Their cages sit on metal racks with three levels. They defecate through the wire bottoms of the cages onto the birds beneath them.
The chickens in the top level cages are white. The birds on the next level are dirty brown, and the birds on the bottom level are absolutely filthy. Dried feces fills the air in gray clouds whenever they move.
The place is fully automated. Food is on a narrow belt that moves through a trough in front of the cages. Eggs roll down the slanted bottoms of the cages and land on another moving belt. Dim bulbs hang amid six-foot-long prehistoric streamers of dirty gray cobwebs.
Capt. Cindy Machado, animal services director at the Marin Humane Society was taking hens from cages to load in a large horse trailer.
“If people saw this, they’d never eat a single egg again,” she said. …

For more information about the Yes on Prop 2 campaign and to see a complete list of endorsers, please visit http://YESonProp2.com. We don’t have to torture our food animals. /Gary

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No Responses to “Prop 2 will keep us from torturing our food animals”

  1. Maggie Says:

    I like how you put this Gary – it will keep us from torturing our food animals – yes! Animals eat each other in the wild all the time, the difference is that until the moment of death the prey animal lived a free, wild life – free to choose a mate, move around, eat what it wants etc. Our food animals are denied all of that. My view is that, if it is true that we are what we eat, then eating animals from factory farms is eating suffering. I don’t want to eat a plate of suffering and have that pain become part of me! Prop 2 doesn’t go far enough but change in society only happens in small increments, so please vote YES on Prop 2!

  2. Karen Says:

    One argument I’ve heard a few times is that “cage-free” chickens aren’t really “free-range”, since they live indoors, so why bother regulating how they’re kept? This misses the point that it isn’t torture for a hen to live indoors, as long as she can move around, peck properly, and interact with other hens in the flock the way her instincts tell her to do. This is why I’ve been buying cage-free eggs for a long time.

    Yes on Prop 2!

  3. Megan Bettencourt Says:

    I believe in humane treatment of all animals. As a student studying animal science we are instructed on proper treatment of farm animals everyday! The one aspect that is not projected by the media is that farm animals produce more for the people if they are treated humanly. A dairy cow will produce more milk if she is fed and housed properly. Farm animals have evolved to the animals they are because they have a specific pupose. This purpose is to provide us humans with the nutrition we need! Too many people in our society have an emotional attachment to animals that have been born and bred for a purpose! Maybe there should be a food shortage in our country so the people that feel so strongly for something most of them have no idea about will understand that the processes that animal producers use to make a product that you and I consume everyday is NOT inhumane!

  4. Gary Bogue Says:

    Megan: One of us definitely has no idea about what is or isn’t inhumane, and she isn’t me. Have you ever visited a commercial egg farm? I have, and I certainly wouldn’t call rows and rows of 160,000 hens stuffed 8-to-a-cage in 3′x3′x3′ wire cages piled on top of each other, “not inhumane.” They couldn’t stand and crap from the birds on top of the piles rained down endlessly on the other birds below them. Factory farming is “not inhumane?” As I walked down the aisles of hens stuffed in cages, I kept stumbling over the bodies of dead hens on the floor where someone had tossed them when they found them dead in the cages. When you stop being a student studying animal science where you are “instructed on proper treatment of farm animals everyday,” step out into the REAL world and take a long look. “The process that animal producers use to make a product that you and I consume everyday” is NOT ALWAYS humane. Time for a reality check. /Gary

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