Farm animal confinement battle heats up
April 24, 2008
• Anti-cruelty group starts video tour of California
• Target is a November ballot measure
Video-equipped truck to tour California.
One of the groups supporting a November ballot measure that would change how some farmers raise their chickens, pigs and veal calves is ratcheting up the campaign with a video tour of the state.
Farm Sanctuary of Orland has equipped a truck with 80-inch video screens on three sides to show its undercover video investigations of what it considers abuse of farm animals to groups around California.
The tour is to raise public awareness “about the cruelties inherent on factory farms and to encourage people to take action to end farm animal abuse,” it says.
“When cruel and egregious practices are exposed to public scrutiny people respond fervently to the call for compassion,” says Julie Janovsky, Farm Sanctuary’s director of campaigns. “When people see a pig confined in a gestation crate, neurotically biting at the bars, unable to turn around, or take more than a step, it has a profound visceral effect on those viewing the cruelty. They know it’s inherently wrong and they want it to stop.”
(Ms. Janovsky talks about the tour and the November ballot issue in a CVBT Audio Interview. Please click on the link below to listen or to download the MP3 audio file to your computer, iPod or other player.)
The “Treatment of Farm Animals Statute” made the ballot after supporters submitted 536,605 valid signatures earlier this year.
If approved by voters, it would require that an enclosure or tether confining specified farm animals allow the animals for the majority of every day to fully extend their limbs or wings, lie down, stand up, and turn around. Specified animals include calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens, and pregnant pigs.
Exceptions would be made for transportation, rodeos, fairs, 4-H programs, lawful slaughter, research and veterinary purposes.
California’s egg industry is leading the opposition, forming an organization dubbed “Californians for Sound Farm Animal Agriculture.”
It says if passed, the law would “ban the use of a scientifically proven method for housing egg-laying hens. If implemented it would trigger unintended consequences which are likely to include increased farm costs, decreased in-state production and higher egg prices for California families. There could also be significant environmental and food safety impacts."
The money behind the group comes largely from NuCal Foods, Inc., an agricultural cooperative based in Ripon that calls itself the largest distributor of shell eggs in the Western United States, and Norco Ranch, Inc., a privately held company based in Southern California.