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.”
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