Cast a humane vote for Prop 2

Modest reform would make a huge difference for farm animals

A Chico State senior majoring in journalism, Shannon York is the public relations intern with Farm Sanctuary and a volunteer with the Yes on Prop 2 campaign.

Imagine yourself crammed into a cage so small that you cannot turn around or spread your arms or legs for the majority of your life. Not a pretty existence, huh?

For more than 200 million animals in California’s factory farms, this is a daily reality. As they await their horrific deaths or, for breeding sows, years of artificial insemination, these animals are unable to exercise any natural behaviors.

Breeding sows, weighing hundreds of pounds, are kept in just 2-foot-wide gestation crates for months on end. Veal calves are tied up with such a short rope around their necks that they can’t even lie down without stretching their necks up. Egg-laying hens are stuffed into battery cages so small with so many other birds that they can’t even spread their wings.

These are some of the horrors of the factory-farming industry. These are the horrors that many caring Californians don’t know about.

Prop 2 is a modest reform sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary that would phase out the worst and most inhumane confinement of farm animals. The initiative would allow these animals to stand up, turn around, lie down comfortably and extend their limbs.

Prop 2 is simple, and it’s modest, but it’s a step in the right direction. Producing cage-free eggs costs less than one penny more per egg … and that’s straight from the egg industry’s own economist! Prop 2 will also allow farmers to begin practicing more humane means of animal production by 2015 rather than requiring wholesale change immediately.

The people of states like Oregon, Colorado, Arizona and Florida have passed similar measures to those covered in Prop 2.

Prop 2 has been endorsed by the Humane Society and the ASPCA; hundreds of state veterinarians; elected officials, Democratic and Republican; the Center for Food Safety; more than 100 California farmers and farming organizations; and environmental groups, including the Sierra Club-California and Defenders of Wildlife.

Animals, even those used for food, deserve to be treated with respect and in a humane fashion, and that’s what Prop 2 hopes to do, or at least take a step toward this.

I have faith in the voters of California. I know that people don’t want to see these animals abused and living in such small and uncomfortable spaces before they are killed. People who witnessed the horrific events of the Hallmark Processing Plant in Chino on the news this past year know how these animals are treated, and the only way we can help is by making our voices heard.

We have big hearts here in California, and we need to extend just a little compassion to these farm animals by voting yes on Prop 2 in November.