I wrote the following reasons for voting YES on Prop 2 in my Times’ daily newspaper column on Sept. 7. Today is Wednesday (Oct. 29) and we will be voting on this issue next Tuesday (Nov. 4).
This is such an important issue, I want to remind you again why you should be giving Prop 2 a YES vote. I can’t think of any better way to say it than the way I did in my column, so here it is again:
VOTE YES! ON PROP. 2
Prop. 2, the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, needs your vote on Nov. 4.
The purpose of Prop. 2 is “to prohibit the cruel confinement of farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs.”
A YES vote on Prop. 2 means more humane treatment of farm animals like chickens, pigs and veal calves, by phasing out small crates and cages on industrial factory farms where animals don’t even have enough room to stand up.
Below is an excerpt from a story I wrote on Aug. 19, 2005, after being invited to go along with several animal rescue groups as they rescued hundreds of hens that were homeless after the sale of a commercial egg farm in Gilroy.
I’m sure you have your own reasons for supporting Prop. 2. Here are mine:
“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.”
I can still smell that horrible place whenever I think about it. I’m smelling it now.
I also remember stumbling over something soft as I felt my way through the semi-dark narrow pathways between the stinking racks of cages. It was the bodies of dead hens that someone had removed from the cages and tossed carelessly on the floor.
They couldn’t even bother to use a garbage can.
That’s why I want you to vote YES on Prop. 2 next Tuesday.
Do it to prevent animal cruelty and to promote food safety. Have you ever wondered why, with all of today’s science, you still have to be careful when handling the eggs you eat to make sure you don’t get salmonella? That’s why.
Do it because you care. /Gary