ALBANY — California Proposition 12, also know as the Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act, passed with a resounding 61% of the vote as of November 7th, according to the California’s Department of State website. The ballot question focused on prohibiting the sales of meats and eggs that don’t meet new minimum space requirements for veal calves, egg-laying hens, and breeding pigs. It further requires egg-laying hens be raised in a cage-free environment after December 31st, 2021. Additional details about the measure can be found here. If sustained by the courts, this new California law will have far reaching implications for meat and poultry producers throughout the US who want to sell their products in California. Further, the fact that animal welfare decisions are being made through the ballot box, rather than through adoption of best animal welfare practices, the best interests of farm animals are sacrificed at the expense of political gain. The Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance stands opposed to public policy that mandates animal husbandry practices. We believe that the best care of our farm animals comes from science based best management practices already in use by farmers throughout the US.
“Yet another casualty of public policy based on emotion and propaganda, rather than informed by objective evidence and science-based recommendations”, stated Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam of the Department of Animal Science at the University of California. “Including the words ‘farm animal’ and ‘protection’ in a ballot initiative in California is enough to get it passed, irrespective of how the text reads, and what the ultimate impacts of its passage will be on the welfare of animals, and the people of California.” Van Eenennaam adds “In the absence of objective, evidence-based measurements – there is just a “blob” of emotions, competing world-views, and fund-raising agendas. And that is not a great foundation upon which to base decisions around animal agriculture or public policy.“
Dr. Van Eenennaam will be speaking March 5, 2019 at the NEAFA Annual Meeting and Forum, Orlando Florida. Her blog post on this subject can be found at: https://biobeef.faculty.ucdavis.edu/2018/08/14/proposition-12-humane-vs-humane/.
Going forward, NEAFA will continue to fight for farms and agribusiness to be able to follow animal welfare practices based in sound animal welfare science, not emotion.
–Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance (NEAFA)