It was ten years ago that California passed cage-free laws for chickens, thanks to a campaign from the Humane Society of the U.S. Another HSUS-backed ballot initiative could go before California voters in 2018.
The Sacramento Bee says the proposed “Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act” would set new rules for cage-free hens as well as set some strict limits on the confinement of calves and pigs. “Californians know that locking farm animals in tight confines for the duration of their lives is cruel and it compromises food safety,” says HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle. HSUS accuses poultry farmers of getting around the intent of Proposition Two by rearranging hen cages to comply with the density rules.
Activists also claim that a poultry industry-friendly decision by the California Department of Food and Agriculture further took the legs out from under Prop Two. The proposed new measure would require that eggs produced in California come from cage-free hens that have one square foot of space apiece. All hens would be cage-free by 2021. It would also require veal to come from farms that don’t lock calves in veal crates. Gestation crates for pigs would be outlawed by 2021.