California’s Proposition 12 would mandate larger, cage-free spaces for pigs, veal calves and egg-laying hens. But what really makes it one of the most consequential state ballot initiatives in this election cycle is that it would require producers in other states to move to cage-free if they intend to sell within the country’s most populous state.
– The pork and egg industries warn it will have far-reaching implications for producers nationwide.
“The pressure to meet this market demand will impact production in many states,” said Ken Klippen, a spokesman for the National Association of Egg Farmers, which opposes the initiative.
– Sound familiar? California voters passed a similar initiative, Proposition 2, in 2008. It forced producers of pigs, eggs and veal to house animals in spaces that don’t inordinately constrain movement. But animal activists said that measure didn’t go far enough in terms of enforcement and allowed producers to continue using cages. Prop 12 closes those loopholes, which proponents say will promote animal welfare and keep food safer.
– The food safety debate: Both sides of the debate argue that their preferred approach to housing is a better option to combat the spread of disease – highlighting how there is no scientific consensus on the link between food safety and livestock housing.