California Proposition 2 (2008)

California Proposition 2 (2008)

Proposition 2, the proposed Standards for Confining Farm Animals initiative statute, is a California ballot proposition in that state's general election on November 42008. The proposition would add a chapter to Division 20 of the California Health and Safety Code to prohibit the confinement of certain farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs. The measure would deal with three types of confinement: veal crates, battery cages, and sow gestation crates. If approved by the voters, the statute would become operative on January 12015. Farming operations would have until that date to implement the new space requirements for their animals, and the measure would prevent animals in California from being confined in these ways in the future.

Ballot Label summary

The California Secretary of State's summary from the Official Voter Information Guidecite web
url =
title = Proposition 2 - Title and Summary - Voter Information Guide 2008
accessdate = 2008-10-11
author = California Secretary of State
coauthors = Prepared by the Attorney General
year = 2008
] of Proposition 2 is as follows:

*Requires that calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs be confined only in ways that allow these animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely.
*Exceptions made for transportation, rodeos, fairs, 4-H programs, lawful slaughter, research and veterinary purposes.
*Provides misdemeanor penalties, including a fine not to exceed $1,000 and/or imprisonment in jail for up to 180 days.

imilar laws enacted in The United States and Europe

* On November 5, 2002, Florida voters passed Amendment 10, an amendment to the Florida Constitution banning the confinement of pregnant pigs in gestation crates. The Amendment passed by a margin of 55% for and 45% against. [cite news | url= | title= PorkNet Newsletter | publisher=", Inc" | date=2002-11-07 | accessdate=2008-07-03]

* On November 7, 2006, Arizona voters passed Proposition 204 with 62% support. The measure prohibits the confinement of calves in veal crates and breeding sows in gestation crates.

* On June 28, 2007, Oregon's governor Ted Kulongoski signed a measure into law prohibiting the confinement of pigs in gestation crates (SB 694, 74th Leg. Assembly, Regular Session). [cite news | url= | title= Back door activists gain momentum | publisher="Learfield Communications, Inc." | date=2007-07-05 | accessdate=2008-07-03]

* On May 14, 2008, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter signed into law a bill, SB 201, that phases out gestation crates and veal crates. [cite news | url= | title= Farm Sanctuary Applauds Colorado for Passing Legislation Phasing out Veal and Gestation Crates | publisher="Reuters" | date=2008-05-14 | accessdate=2008-07-03] [cite news | url= | title= Farm Animal Welfare Measure Becomes Law | publisher="Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS)" | date=2008-05-14 | accessdate=2008-07-03]

* Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, and Austria have all banned battery cages for egg-laying hens. The entire European Union is phasing out battery cages by 2012. [cite news | url= | title= EU bans battery hen cages | publisher="BBC News" | date=1999-01-28 | accessdate=2008-09-21]

imilar legislation attempted in California and other states

* On January 14, 2004, the bill AB-732 was withdrawn from the State Assembly. The primary author of AB-732 was Loni Hancock of the 14th District. The bill would have banned gestation and veal crates, eventually being amended to include only veal crates. [cite web | url= | title= AB-732 Analysis | publisher=California State Assembly | date=2008-01-14]

* On May 9, 2007, the bill AB-594 was withdrawn from the State Assembly. The primary author of AB-594 was Mervyn Dymally of the 52nd District. AB-594 was very similar to the current language of Proposition 2. [cite web | url= | title= AB-594 Analysis | publisher=California State Assembly | date=2008-05-09] .

*In January 2008, Nebraska State Senator DiAnna Schimek submitted bill LB 1148 to ban the use of gestation crates for pig farmers. It was withdrawn within 5 days amidst controversy, and a kill motion was filed by State Senator Phil Erdman. [cite news | title="Farm Animal Welfare Bill Killed in Legislature" | publisher="Omaha World Daily" | date=2008-02-17]

Assertions by proponents

Proposition 2, or The California Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act [cite news | url= | title= Full Text of Initiative | publisher=Office of the Attorney General | date=2007-08-09 | accessdate=2008-09-24|format=PDF] as it was previously known until the Secretary of State amended it to Standards for Confining Farm Animals initiative statute [ " [] " Office of the Secretary of State, Ballot Label, Initiative 07-0041, July 3, 2008] , is a modest measure that ends the cruel and inhumane confinement of specified animals on factory farms, ending the practice of forcing them to spend their entire lives in spaces so small that they are physically unable to turn around, lie down, or fully extend their legs and/or wings. The initiative does not require that they be kept outside of cages or live outdoors. It simply requires more space per animal in the cages/pens which already house them.

Prop 2 does the following:

Prevents cruelty to animals

Currently, large-scale, industrialized, "factory" farms house veal calves, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens in tightly confined enclosures that are barely larger than their own bodies. Veal calves are tethered by the neck and spend their entire lives standing side-by-side to each other, unable to even turn around or lie down fully. Mature female pigs are placed into restrictive pens, with metal bars and concrete floors, which prevent them from taking even a single step forwards or backwards for the remainder of their lives, while they are impregnated. Egg-laying hens in modern housing systems are placed into battery cages, where the space given to each bird is no larger than a single sheet of notebook paper, and the animals must have their beaks painfully cut off to prevent them from attacking each other due to overcrowding. Animals living their entire lives in such overcrowded conditions often develop severe medical and/or psychological problems. The American Veterinary Medical Association agrees that the best housing environments for farm animals must take into consideration freedom of movement and expression of normal behaviors. [cite news | url= | title= AVMA Passes Groundbreaking Animal Welfare Policies | publisher="MarketWatch, Inc." | date=2008-07-19 | accessdate=2008-09-21] The Animal Welfare Act, while extensive, applies only to the transportation and sale of animals used for research, pets, or exhibition. [cite news | url= | title= Animal Welfare Act as Amended (7 USC, 2131-2156) | publisher=USDA| date=June, 2006 | accessdate=2008-09-21] There are currently no federal laws which require humane living conditions for farm animals. A law similar to Prop 2 was passed in Arizona two years ago, which applied to veal crates and gestation pens but not battery cages, resulting in the phasing out of these factory farming methods by meat producers nationwide. [cite news | url= | title= Largest Pork Processor to Phase Out Crates | publisher="Washington Post" | date=2007-01-26 | accessdate=2008-09-21] [cite news | url= | title= Strauss Veal and Marcho Farms Eliminating Confinement by Crate | publisher="Humane Society of the United States" | date=2007-02-22 | accessdate=2008-09-21] Thus, the measure improved not only animal welfare in the state, but it encouraged reform in the rest of the nation as well. Industry leaders agree that a similar experience will likely take place in the egg industry when Californians pass Prop 2.

In fact, the banning of battery cages in Europe has already led to the creation of innovative housing systems for egg-laying hens in those countries. These are known as "furnished" or "enriched" cages, because they include perches and nests for the birds, in addition to wire flooring. Studies have been underway in the E.U. for many years to investigate the various benefits of different housing systems for egg-laying hens, and so far they have shown that animals kept in enriched cages are under far less stress than those kept in battery cages. This is because they able to move around freely, perch, dust-bathe, and lay their eggs in nests. They also show far less aggression towards each other, since they can simply move away from each other when conflicts arise. A European Commission Report done in 2008 has confirmed the benefits of banning battery cages for egg-laying hens. [cite news | url= | title= European Commission Report Confirms Benefits of Ban on Battery Cages | publisher="The" | date=2008-01-29 | accessdate=2008-09-21] A Canadian study completed in 2008 concluded that conventional battery cages could easily be converted into furnished colony cage systems, and confirmed the expected improvements in animal welfare. [ cite news | url=$Department/newslett.nsf/all/agnw13370 | title= Welfare Considerations of Laying Hens Housed in Furnished Cages | publisher="Government of Alberta" | date=2008-05-12 | accessdate=2008-09-21]

Prop 2 is endorsed by The Humane Society of the United States, State Humane Association of California, the ASCPA, Compassion in World Farming, East Bay SPCA, Placer SPCA, Humane Society of Ventura County, Santa Cruz SPCA, Palo Alto Humane Society, Oakland Animal Services, Orange County SPCA, Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA, San Francisco SPCA, Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe, Sacramento SPCA, SPCA-LA, and the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA. [ cite news | url= | title=Endorsements by Animal Protection Charities | | accessdate=2008-10-05]

Improves our health and food safety

As the result of a Humane Society investigation of a Southern California slaughter plant earlier this year, we all witnessed the introduction of sick and crippled cows into our food supply. As diseased animals are more likely to carry illnesses that can be transmitted to humans, this prompted authorities to pull meat off school menus and initiate a nationwide recall. The agricultural industry clearly does not do an adequate job of policing itself when it comes to food safety. [cite news | url= | title= Beef Recall Latest in a Bad Year | publisher=U.S. News & World Report | date=2008-02-20 | accessdate=2008-09-21] Factory farms put human health at risk by cramming tens of thousands of animals into tiny cages, fostering the spread of diseases that may affect people. Animals under stress, including the stress of intensive confinement, have compromised immune systems, and thus higher levels of pathogens such as Salmonella in their intestines. When we use these animals as food, these disease-causing mircro-organisms are passed along to us. Moreoever, higher-density living environments for egg-laying hens, such as battery cages, lead to higher concentrations of bird feces. Research studies have shown that increased density of birds in battery cages leads to increased incidences of Salmonella in eggs. [cite news | url= | title= The Public Health Benefits of Proposition 2: An Evidence-Based Analysis | | year=2008 | accessdate=2008-09-21|format=PDF] A European study confirmed that large-scale egg farms with caged hens have higher rates of Salmonella contamination than smaller organic and/or cage-free farms. In this study, dust samples were twice as likely as feces samples to test positive for Salmonella, proving that separating feces from eggs is NOT an effective way to prevent the spread of this disease in an overcrowded living environment. [cite news | url= | title= Report of the Task Force on Zoonoses Data Collection on the Analysis of the baseline study on the prevalence of Salmonella in holdings of laying hen flocks of Gallus gallus | publisher=European Food Safety Authority | date=2007-02-20 | accessdate=2008-09-21] Buildings housing battery cages, where literally thousands of egg-laying hens are stacked on top of one other, are very difficult to keep clean. They often are infested by large numbers of flies and rats. Dr. Kennedy Shortridge, credited with the discovery of the first bird flu virus in Asia, warns that the outbreak of bird flu in China was a result of that country's conversion from small, backyard poultry farms towards larger, overcrowded industrialized farms over the last twenty years. He strongly recommends that we "dramatically" change modern farming practices, due to the serious health risk consequences of raising animals on factory farms. According to Dr. Shortridge, domesticated poultry on industrial farms, NOT outdoor migratory birds, are the source of the bird flu virus. [cite news | url= | title= Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching, Foreward by Kennedy Shortridge, PhD, DSc(Hon), CBiol, FIBiol | publisher=Bird Flu | accessdate=2008-09-24]

Furnished cages for egg-laying hens have already been developed in Europe, which allow birds to move freely and display natural behaviors. The waste material in these systems is far less concentrated than with battery cages, and the animals are healthier and calmer with a stronger natural immunity to disease. Lower concentrations of waste from healthier animals means a lower chance of Salmonella ending up in our eggs. In addition to simple concentrations of bacteria, there is another importance difference between battery cages and enriched cages, related to the natural behavior of birds. Under normal conditions, birds of all species are careful not to deposit their feces into their nests. This is an instinct that they have which allows them to keep their eggs clean and free of disease. Hens in furnished cages lay their eggs in nests, but deposit feces in other parts of the cage. However, hens in battery cages are immobile, and therefore forced to lay eggs and deposit feces in the same place. There is a much higher chance that eggs will come into contact with bird feces in battery cages than with furnished cages. Thus, Prop 2 is better for both animal and human health, which is why it is endorsed by nearly 60 California health care professionals, The Center for Food Safety, Consumer Federation of America, Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, Center for Science in the Public Interest, and Union of Concerned Scientists.

upports family farmers

California family farmers support Prop 2 because they know that farming practices which promote better animal welfare enhance food quality and safety. Increasingly, smaller farms which raise animals under more natural and humane methods are supplying major retailers like Safeway [cite news | url= | title=Safeway Inc. Animal Welfare | | accessdate=2008-09-21] , Burger King [cite news | url= | title=Burger King Shifts Policy on Animals | publisher=The New York Times | date=2007-03-28 | accessdate=2008-09-22] , and Wolfgang Puck, under pressure from consumers concerned about the taste and nutritional value of their food. The recent exposure in the media of animal cruelty on farms has resulted in many consumers becoming outraged, and demanding from food retailers that their meat, dairy, and eggs must come from suppliers who treat their animals humanely. An AC Nielsen study noted that supermarket sales of specialty eggs increased by 63 percent between 2001 and 2005. California has seen success in cornering other specialty agricultural markets, including table grapes, avocados, prunes, almonds, raisins, and walnuts, and, of course wines and cheeses. If humane egg production is part of the future of agriculture, California will stake it's claim as an industry leader, strengthening our local economy. According to the California Majority Report, "it is only appropriate that California, considered a trendsetter in national moors, lead the way in increasing humane standards for farm animal treatment, all while taking advantage of a growing market. Our state's efforts to prioritize renewable energy over older energy sources are analogous." [cite news | url= | title=Prop 2's Cageless Potential | publisher=The California Majority Report | date=2003-10-03 | accessdate=2008-10-03]

Passing Prop 2 means that smaller, local, family farms will have an increased competitive edge over larger factory farms. Currently, when these factory farms cut corners by inhumanely treating farm animals as mere cogs in their machine, they drive family farmers out of business. Industrialization of farming has been accompanied by increasing farm size and gross farm sales, lower family income, higher poverty rates, lower retail sales, lower housing quality, and lower wages for farm workers. The main concern of the agribusiness industry is maximizing their own profits, not supporting local farmers, farm workers, animal welfare, or human health. Out-of-state industrialized egg farms have spent millions of their own dollars to oppose the initiative, and attempted to illegally divert $3 million more in federal funds into their campaign. [cite news | url= | title=Prop. 2 opponents barred from using public funds | publisher=San Francisco Chronicle | date=2008-09-22 | accessdate=2008-09-22] The USDA has now agreed to comply with the court order that prevents them from releasing these funds for that purpose. United Egg Producers, the organization leading the fight against Prop 2, is currently under a criminal investigation by the United States Justice Department for price-fixing and intentionally driving up the cost of eggs. [cite news | url= | title=Federal Prosecutors Probe Food-Price Collusion | publisher=The Wall Street Journal | date=2008-09-23 | accessdate=2008-09-23] In contrast, more than 100 California family farmers [cite news | url= | title=Family Farmers and Farming Organizations Endorsements | | accessdate=2008-09-25] , Family Farm Defenders, the Cesar Chavez Foundation, and United Farm Workers have all endorsed Prop 2.

Protects air and water and safeguards the environment

The American Public Health Association has called for a moratorium on new factory farms because of the devastating effects that these operations can have on surrounding communities. [cite news | url= | title=Public Health Association Calls for Moratorium on Factory Farms; Cites Health Issues, Pollution | publisher=Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health | date=2004-01-09 | accessdate=2008-09-21] Industrialized farming operations spread untreated waste on the ground and toxic ammonia emissions in the air, contaminating our waterways, lakes, groundwater, soil, and atmosphere. Often, land surrounding highly concentrated animal-farming operations becomes contaminated to the point that it is no longer suitable for human use, and property values in these communities drop drastically. There is an increased need for the use of drugs such as antibiotics in the diseased and/or stressed animals living on factory farms, and these drugs end up contaminating our food and water supply. [cite news | url= | title=Public Health Association Calls for Moratorium on Factory Farms; Cites Health Issues, Pollution | publisher=Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health | date=2004-01-09 | accessdate=2008-09-21] Studies have found that neighbors of industrialized animal farms report more frequent occurrences of headaches, excessive coughing, diarrhea, and burning eyes as well as respiratory problems, weakness, and nausea. Furthermore, recent studies have found that children who attend schools near factory farms suffer increased incidences of asthma. [cite news | url= | title=Stop Factory Farming and Protect Rural New York! | publisher=Sierra Club - New York | accessdate=2008-09-22|format=PDF] The United Nations and the Environmental Protection Agency have identified factory farms as major sources of greenhouse gases which cause global warming. Prop 2 helps stop some of the worst abuses of our environment and protects our precious natural resources. That’s why Greenpeace USA, California Clean Water Action, Environmental Integrity Project, Sierra Club‐California, Center for Environmental Health, and Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition support Prop 2.

A reasonable and common‐sense reform

Prop 2 provides ample time--until 2015--for factory farms using these severe confinement methods to shift to more humane practices. It merely states that animals must be given enough room in their living environments to perform basic, minimal body movements. It does not require that they be cage-free or allowed outdoors. Arizona, Colorado, Florida, and Oregon have passed similar laws. Prop 2 is supported by The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA, hundreds of California veterinarians, including the California Veterinary Medical Association, California family farmers, the Center for Food Safety, the Consumer Federation of America, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the United Farm Workers, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Family Farm Defenders, the Cesar Chavez Foundation, Republican and Democratic elected officials, California religious leaders, the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, and many others.

Smithfield Foods, the largest U.S. pig producer, is phasing out gestation crates [cite news | url= | title= Largest Pork Processor to Phase Out Crates | publisher="Washington Post" | date=2007-01-26 | accessdate=2008-09-21] , and the American Veal Association voted to urge the entire veal industry to phase out veal crates. [cite news | url= | title= American Veal Association Resolution | publisher="" | date=2007-05-09 | accessdate=2008-09-21|format=PDF] Colorado-based chain Chipotle already refuses to buy any pork from producers that use gestation crates. Chains such as Safeway, Burger King, Carl’s Jr. and Hardees have also implemented policies to reduce their reliance on gestation crate pork. Burger King, Denny's, Carl's Jr. and Hardee's are beginning to move away from cage eggs. Wolfgang Puck has ended his use of cage eggs. Restaurant chains Burgerville and Finagle A Bagel have instituted cage-free egg policies, while Bruegger's is exclusively using cage-free eggs in its Wisconsin, Vermont, and Western Massachusetts bagel cafes. Ben & Jerry's is phasing out its use of cage eggs as well. Even companies such as AOL and Google exclusively use cage-free eggs in their employee cafeterias. Chicago's Swedish Covenant Hospital will only serve cage-free eggs to its patients, due to the health benefits that they provide. [cite news | url= | title= Eating Green | publisher=Swedish Covenant Hospital | accessdate=2008-09-21] Omni Hotels will not serve battery cage eggs to its hotel guests in their 40 locations.

The egg industry's own economist has estimated that eliminating battery cages for egg-laying hens will result in increased production costs of less than one cent per egg, [cite news | url= | title= A Review of Recent Publications On Animal Welfare Issues For Table Egg Laying Hens | publisher="" | date=2006-01-11 | accessdate=2008-09-21|format=PDF] and a recent economic study co-authored by former California finance director Tim Gage predicted, "Under Prop 2, consumers purchasing conventional eggs will likely see no change in price; consumers preferring California grown eggs could see around a penny per egg increase in cost; while those preferring cage-free eggs will see a drop in cost with a new California provider." [cite news | url= | title=Prop 2's Cageless Potential | publisher=The California Majority Report | date=2003-10-03 | accessdate=2008-10-03] This is a simple and straightforward initiative intended to stop the cruel treatment of farm animals. In fact, when most people first learn about the intense confinement of animals on factory farms, they are surprised to find out that these inhumane living conditions are not already prohibited by law in California or most of the United States.

Assertions by opponents

Opponents claim that Proposition 2 - which they call "the UN-SAFE Food Initiative" - is a risky, dangerous and costly measure banning almost all modern egg production in California. Proposition 2 jeopardizes food safety and public health, wipes out Californians’ access to locally grown, fresh eggs, and harms consumers by driving up prices at grocery stores and restaurants and creates a dependency on eggs shipped from other states and Mexico.

Current management characteristics of egg farms ensure food safety

The food safety management practices of California egg producers are among the most successful in the United States and are directly credited for decreasing Salmonella prevalence at the consumer level.

These management characteristics include the use of the California Egg Quality Assurance Plan, or CEQAP. Initiated in 1994, CEQAP is a pathogen reduction program for Salmonella and in California, 98 percent of egg farms adhere to the toughest, most stringent food safety standards in the U.S. under the program. [ | publisher=State of California, Department of Health Services. 2008. ] CEQAP is composed of university and extension researchers, state and federal health and agricultural officials, private poultry veterinarians, egg producers and processors, and egg association representatives. [ Castellan, DM et al. 2004. “Descriptive Study of California Egg Layer Premises and Analysis of Risk Factors for Salmonella enterica serotype enteritidis as Characterized by Manure Drag Swabs.” Avian Diseases 48:550-561 ]

The voluntary efforts of California’s individual producers in conforming to CEQAP standards ensure that the continuing production of safe and sanitary eggs on California egg farms is a near-certainty. According to the California Department of Public Health, CEQAP standards have been credited with helping control egg-associated Salmonella Enteritidis infections in California. While there has not been a reported case of Salmonella Enteritidis linked to California eggs in nearly a decade, Salmonella contaminated eggs coming from other states sicken 118,000 Americans each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [ California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA). 2004. Docket Comments to the FDA.]

In addition, a 2004 study of California egg farms in the journal "Avian Diseases" finds comparatively low Salmonella prevalence in indoor housing systems, commonly used in California, as compared to cage-free and free-range housing systems. The researchers state that this low Salmonella prevalence in California egg farms reflects the “distinct geographic, climatic, production and management characteristics” of the state’s egg farms (emphasis added). [ Castellan, DM et al. 2004. “Descriptive Study of California Egg Layer Premises and Analysis of Risk Factors for Salmonella enterica serotype enteritidis as Characterized by Manure Drag Swabs.” Avian Diseases 48:550-561]

This California study also stated that the use of testing procedures on California farming facilities “assist individual producers to validate the core components of their pathogen reduction programs for [Salmonella] by applying process control principles,” [ Ibid ] ensuring that California egg farmers stay one step ahead of the pathogens, keeping the food they supply to California families as safe as possible.

An equally important core component of California’s pathogen reduction program is the process of tracing an outbreak of foodborne illness to its source. Known as a “traceback,” it is conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and helps to maintain a safe food supply. The FDA’s guidance to its staff for conducting tracebacks has lengthy sections entitled “Farm Investigations” and “Egg Processor/Packer Investigations.” These sections contain detailed protocols explaining who goes on the farm, how the investigation is carried out, biosecurity procedures and other important steps to ensure that should an outbreak from eggs occur, the traceback would successfully reveal the original source. [ Food & Drug Administration. 2003. “Guide to Investigation of Eggs and Farms Implicated In Foodborne Outbreaks of Salmonella Enteritidis.” ] The FDA document “Guide to Investigation of Eggs and Farms Implicated In Foodborne Outbreaks of Salmonella Enteritidis” even states that the FDA “is focusing their efforts on achieving the reduction and eventual eradication of egg related [Salmonella Enteritidis] illness in humans” and that they are doing so “by conducting traceback and farm investigations in order to determine the source of the eggs and the contamination.” [ Ibid ]

Raising hens cage-free increases salmonella risk

The principal mode of Salmonella contamination occurs after the hens have laid their eggs where the source of infection is the environment, usually when the laid egg comes in contact with feces or waste. Thus another way the California egg industry has been successful in decreasing Salmonella prevalence is through the implementation of measures separating hens from their feces and waste in modern housing systems.

The scientific consensus clearly states that eggs laid by hens in modern housing systems have a lower prevalence of Salmonella across the board than those laid by free-range and cage-free-range hens. In fact, the most sanitary housing systems are those that separate hens from their waste and keep the eggs as clean as possible.

The journal "Avian Diseases" conducted a study of one California egg farm in 1996, examining a statistically significant sample of egg laying hens. This study found that the prevalence of Salmonella in the hens kept indoors in modern housing systems was far lower than in the free-range hens. The study explicitly states, “The highest prevalence [was] in the free-range birds kept on the dirt floors.” [ Kinde, H. et al. 1996. “Salmonella enteritidis, Phage Type 4 Infection in a Commercial Layer Flock in Southern California: Bacteriologic and Epidemiologic Findings.” Avian Diseases 40:665-671 ] That’s because hens in free-range systems live in an open environment and frequently lay their eggs in their own feces and waste, so eggs from free-range systems are typically more contaminated than those from cage systems. [ Ibid ] The researchers of the California study explain that the lower prevalence of Salmonella in the hens kept in modern housing units was due to better manure management and to minimal exposure from birds and rodents. [ Ibid ] In addition, previous research suggests that eggs from modern housing systems have superior structural integrity in their shells, allowing for greater resistance to penetration by the Salmonella Enteritidis pathogen and decreasing the risk of egg contamination. [ Dawson, RC et al. Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation. October 2001. Food Safety Risk Management in Different Egg Production Systems.] On the other hand, the infection of free-range hens in the California study was caused via the “fecal-oral route through contamination of the feed through feces” from rodents that had easy access to these hens. [ Kinde, H. et al. 1996. “Salmonella enteritidis, Phage Type 4 Infection in a Commercial Layer Flock in Southern California: Bacteriologic and Epidemiologic Findings.” Avian Diseases 40:665-671]

In addition to being more vulnerable to exposure from rodents, free-range hens did not have the same level of manure management as those hens kept in modern housing systems. This is because the hens housed indoors had a manure belt that ran under their enclosures and transported the feces to collection receptacles, common to modern housing systems in California. [ Ibid ] On the other hand, according to a report by the "Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation", the total number of bacteria on free-range eggs is 15 times greater than that found on eggs from modern housing systems. [Dawson, RC et al. Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation. October 2001. Food Safety Risk Management in Different Egg Production Systems.] This alarming figure is entirely due to the fact that eggs produced in free-range systems are in closer proximity to feces and potential infectious agents.

Furthermore, there is a wealth of scientific literature that clearly states free-range hens are far more susceptible and vulnerable to infection from rodents and various species of wildlife. The California study even notes that “feral cats, rodents, skunks, opossums, wild birds, and other wildlife” were seen near the free-range hens’ feeding areas, and that rodents “were considered to be the biological vectors and amplifiers” of Salmonella on the egg farm in the study. [Kinde, H. et al. 1996. “Salmonella enteritidis, Phage Type 4 Infection in a Commercial Layer Flock in Southern California: Bacteriologic and Epidemiologic Findings.” Avian Diseases 40:665-671.] The Rural Industries report also postulates that the very construction of the indoor housing systems precludes the possibility of poultry and rodents existing closely, thereby potentially decreasing the possibility of cross-infection. [Dawson, RC et al. Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation. October 2001. Food Safety Risk Management in Different Egg Production Systems.] A 2003 study from the "Journal of Applied Microbiology" uses genetic mapping to conclude that wildlife species are the most virulent intruders on egg farms, and that these species serve as highly pathogenic vectors of Salmonella. [Liebana, E. et al. 2003. “Molecular fingerprinting evidence of the contribution of wildlife vectors in the maintenance of Salmonella Entiritidis infection in layer farms”. Journal of Applied Microbiology. 94:1024-1029.] The researchers of the study specifically state that their study provides “definitive molecular evidence for the involvement of several wildlife species in the maintenance of [Salmonella] Entiritidis infection on farms.” [Ibid] This conclusion that wildlife species are particularly dangerous vectors for Salmonella is shared by another study published in the journal "Applied and Environmental Microbiology" that collected data from a period of more than 30 years. [Refsum, T. et al. 2002. “Salmonellae in Avian Wildlife in Norway from 1969 to 2000.” Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Vol 68, No 11: 5595-5599.]

As evidenced by the studies above, not only are eggs from free-range systems typically more contaminated than those from modern housing systems but also free-range hens are at a greater risk for Salmonella infection as they are far more vulnerable to exposure from wildlife species and rodents.

Raising birds outdoors jeopardizes public health

The threat of an Avian Influenza, or Bird Flu, epidemic remains very real, with outbreaks occurring all over the world, including the United States.Most human cases have been linked to contact with infected birds, but health experts worry the virus could mutate into a form that passes easily among humans, sparking a pandemic that some say could kill millions of people and overload health care systems.

Since hens housed in cage-free and free-range housing systems have access to the outdoors, it substantially increases their risk of exposure to Avian Influenza (AI), Exotic Newcastle Disease, and other diseases from wildlife species of birds, according to the United States Animal Health Association, just as it increases their chance of exposure to Salmonella. [World Health Organization. December 5, 2005. Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Response (EPR). Avian Influenza Frequently Asked Questions.]

There are many studies that re-iterate the claim that backyard or outdoor flocks are specifically at an increased risk for Avian Influenza infection. A study published in Avian Pathology in 2007 concludes that their “findings confirm that backyard free-range farming is at high risk for Avian Influenza virus introduction,” largely from contact with wild waterfowl in the winter months. [Terregino, C. et al. 2007. “Active surveillance for avian influenza viruses in wild birds and backyard flocks in Northern Italy during 2004 to 2006.” Avian Pathology; 36(4):337-44.] A 2008 study from The Journal of General Virology also confirms the need to continue “to monitor backyard poultry at live poultry markets to better understand interspecies transmission and the emergence of novel influenza viruses that have the potential to infect humans.” [Song, M.S. et al. 2008. “Ecology of H3 avian influenza viruses in Korea and assessment of their pathogenic potentials.” Journal of General Virology; 89(Pt 4):949-57.]

Finally, according to the World Health Organization, transmission of Bird Flu from poultry to humans results in “very serious disease” and “could mark the start of a global outbreak (a pandemic).” [World Health Organization. December 5, 2005. Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Response (EPR). Avian Influenza Frequently Asked Questions.] In order to avoid such a potentially disastrous pandemic, it is important to allow the California egg industry to continue adhering to its strict safety guidelines to keep California consumers safe and healthy.

California's egg industry adheres to strict standards of animal welfare

Scientific consensus largely maintains that an egg industry where the infrastructure and procedures are highly ordered, well maintained, sanitary and informed by sound evidence is most beneficial to humans and hens alike. These guidelines ensure that California’s egg industry maintain the highest standards of food safety.

Developing responsible management criteria has been a primary concern of California egg farmers for years. Working with the foremost animal scientists, they have developed leading egg production methods to ensure that fundamental components of sound animal care are provided to egg-laying hens: optimal feed, light, air, water, space and sanitation for egg-laying hens. [United Egg Producers. 2008. United Egg Producers Animal Husbandry Guidelines for U.S. Egg Laying Flocks. ]

These sound methods are a direct result of the United Egg Producers’ development of the first industry guidelines in the early 1980’s, followed by the commission of the independent Scientific Advisory Committee for Animal Welfare in 1999. [Ibid] The guidelines developed by this committee resulted in the UEP certification program, and now approximately 95 percent of California’s egg farmers are UEP-certified. [ Sumner, Daniel J. et al. July 2008. “Economic Effects of Proposed Restrictions on Egg-Laying Hen Housing in California.” University of California Agricultural Issues Center. ] Certified farmers must place top priority on health, safety, and comfort of their hens and submit to independent United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) audits. [Bell, D. et al. March 15, 2004. “UEP Uses Scientific Approach in its Establishment of Welfare Guidelines.” Feedstuffs. Volume 76, No 11. Pp 1-2. ] Because the indoor housing systems that egg-laying hens are kept in are clean, sanitary and biosecure, antibiotics are used only when the animals are sick and in need of care. In fact, antibiotics are prohibited in feed unless administered for therapeutic reasons (disease treatment) and then only under direction of a veterinarian. [United Egg Producers. 2008. United Egg Producers Animal Husbandry Guidelines for U.S. Egg Laying Flocks. ] [U.S. Poultry & Egg Association. 2008. “Frequently asked questions”.] Furthermore, hormones are not given to any egg-laying hens under any circumstances. [ Ibid]

The economic effects of Proposition 2

According to a May 2008 study by Promar International and commissioned by opponents to Prop. 2, 95% of the California egg industry and accompanying economic output would be lost by 2015. The total economic output of the industry is $648 million and 3,561 jobs. The study also stated that egg production costs would increase by 76%. [" [] " Economic Impact on California of the Treatment of Farm Animals Act, Promar International, May 16, 2008]

Additionally, in July 2008 the University of California, Davis conducted a study through their University of California Agricultural Issues Center (AIC). The study concluded that "the best evidence from a variety of sources suggests that (non-organic) non-cage systems incur costs of production that are at least 20 percent higher than the common cage housing systems". This is due to higher feed costs, higher hen laying mortality, higher direct housing costs, and higher labor costs. The study also estimated that the entire California egg industry would relocate to other states during the 5-year adjustment period, and that the implication of this would be that consumer costs would increase by at least 25%. [" [] " Sumner, Daniel A. et al, Economic Effects of Proposed Restrictions on Egg-laying Hen Housing in California, University of California Agricultural Issues Center, July 2008]

Appointees of humane societies can enforce the law

One of the lesser known effects of Proposition 2 would be the use of law enforcement powers by organizations and groups. Under California Corporations Code Sections 10400 – 10406: “Corporations for the prevention of cruelty to… animals… may be formed under the Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law... by 20 or more persons, who shall be citizens and residents of this state.” [ Find Law. California Corporations Code. Accessed September 25, 2008.] . Furthermore, under California Corporations Code 14502, “a humane society or society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, shall be eligible to apply for an appointment of any individual as a level 1 or level 2 humane officer, the duty of which shall be the enforcement of the laws for the prevention of cruelty to animals.” [ Onecle. California Corporations Code 14502. Accessed September 25, 2008.] . Corporations Code 14502(C)(3)(b): The humane society or society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shall recommend any appointee to the judge of the superior court in and for the county or city and county in which the humane society is incorporated... [1] a humane society can appoint any indifividual to to act as a humane officer ... "the judge shall review the matter of the appointee's qualifications and fitness to act as a humane officer and, if he or she reaffirms the appointment, shall so state on a court order confirming the appointment. The appointee shall thereupon file a certified copy of the reviewed court order in the office of the county clerk of the county or city and county and shall, at the same time, take and subscribe the oath of office prescribed for constables or other peace officers." [ Onecle. California Corporations Code 14502. Accessed September 25, 2008.]

Under California Penal Code 599a, if such an individual “believes that any provision of law relating to, or in any way affecting, dumb animals or birds is being, or is about to be violated in any particular building or place” they can compel the issuance of search warrants “directed to any sheriff, constable, police or peace officer or officer of an incorporated association qualified as provided by law, authorizing him to enter and search such building or place.” [ California Penal Code: Animal Welfare Provisions ]

This was originally elucidated in a legal opinion that was drafted by legal analysts for Feedstuffs magazine, which is a weekly newspaper serving agribusiness decision-makers involved in the manufacture, production and distribution of products and services for livestock and poultry, [cite web | url= | title=Feedstuffs | accessmonthday=August 4 | accessyear=2008] . Normally, investigations surrounding and arrests for alleged violations of criminal statutes are conducted by law enforcement and prosecutorial authorities. [ Rod Smith. July 18, 2008.]

As Proposition 2 qualified for the ballot through a petition carried by animal activists led by Farm Sanctuary and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), both non-profit organizations could petition local judges for the appointment of humane officers to perform law-enforcement duties. The legal analysis by Feedstuffs suggested that any humane officer acting on the behalf of Farm Sanctuary, HSUS or other animal activist group "would be free to demand and execute warrants and make arrests" to enforce the initiative, the paper said. [ Ibid ]

upporters of Prop 2

Key endorsements as of October 9, 2008

* The Humane Society of the United States, Sierra Club‐California, California Veterinary Medical Association, California Democratic Party, Center for Food Safety, Consumer Federation of America, the ASPCA, United Farm Workers, Family Farm Defenders, Union of Concerned Scientists, and the California Council of Churches.

* California veterinary professionals -- The California Veterinary Medical Association, more than 700 California veterinarians, more than 150 California veterinary medical students, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, the San Diego County Veterinary Medical Association, and more than 90 veterinary hospitals and clinics

* California farmers -- More than 100 California farmers, including Bill Niman, Prather Ranch, Dobson Dairy Ranch, Eatwell Farms, Flores Ranch, Lunny Ranch, and US Farms, Inc.

* Animal protection charities -- More than 100 organizations, including more than a dozen California humane societies and SPCAs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and beyond; the State Humane Association of California; and leading national organizations like Farm Sanctuary, the National Federation of Humane Societies, Best Friends Animal Society, and Animals and Society Institute.

*Healthcare Professionals - The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, author John McDougall, MD, and nearly 60 California medical professionals, including general practitioners, cardiologists, pediatricians, chiropractors, dentists, optometrists, registered nurses and more.

* Elected officials and local governments -- The city councils of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Davis, Santa Monica, Santa Cruz, West Hollywood, and Berkeley; US Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein; State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell; US Representatives John Campbell (Orange County), Elton Gallegly (Santa Barbara), Barbara Lee (East Bay), Brad Sherman (San Fernando Valley), and Maxine Waters (Los Angeles); Mayors Gavin Newsom (San Francisco), Marty Blum (Santa Barbara), and Craig Litwin (Sebastapol); state Senators Dean Florez (Bakersfield/Fresno), Sheila Kuehl (Los Angeles), Christine Kehoe (San Diego) and Carole Migden (San Francisco); Assembly Speaker pro Tem Sally Lieber (Mountain View); and Assembly members Mike Davis (Los Angeles), Merv Dymally (Los Angeles), Loni Hancock (Albany), Paul Krekorian (Glendale), Mark Leno (San Francisco), Lloyd Levine (Van Nuys), and Jose Solorio (Anaheim); and former Mayor Richard Riordan (Los Angeles) and former US Representative John Burton (San Francisco)

* Celebrities & public figures -- Nearly 70 well‐known experts, actors, actresses, chefs, and others. Dr. Jane Goodall, Ed Begley, Jr., Bill McKibben, Eric Schlosser, Ellen DeGeneres, Daryl Hannah, Alicia Silverstone, and Ed Asner. Authors Michael Chabon, J.M. Coetzee, Jonathan Safran Foer, Jonathan Franzen, Nicole Krauss, Michael Pollan, Alice Sebold, and Alice Walker.

* Leading nonprofit and advocacy organizations -- More than 45 organizations across the country that are working to address the public health, environmental, social justice and animal welfare impacts of factory farming, including the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Compassion in World Farming, United Farm Workers, the Cesar Chavez Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife, Greenpeace USA, and the Organic Consumers Association.

* Religious organizations and leaders National and state leaders from across the religious spectrum, including: California Council of Churches IMPACT, the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, The Right Reverend Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, Bishop Beverly J. Shamana, California Nevada Conference, United Methodist Church, Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, California‐Pacific Conference, United Methodist Church, The Right Reverend James R. Mathes, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, Richard Mouw, President of Fuller Seminary, and nearly 80 leaders of individual California congregations

* California businesses and business owners - Nearly 300 California businesses from all walks of commerce, including restaurants, artists, pet‐related stores and services, real estate brokers, grocery stores, health care professionals, construction, and more

* Journalists - The New York Times, San Jose Mercury News, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Los Angeles Daily News, Santa Barbara News Press, Sacramento News & Review, Oakland Tribune, Alameda Times-Star, Santa Cruz Sentinel, Marin Independent-Journal, San Mateo County Times, Fremont Argus, Tri-Valley Herald, Hayward Daily Review, Whittier Daily News, Contra Costa Times, Alameda Journal, Berkeley Voice,The Montclarion, The Piedmonter, San Joaquin Herald, San Ramon Valley Times, Pasadena Star-News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Columnist Gary Bogue, Columnist Tom Hennessey, Columnist Nicholas Kristof, and Syndicated pet-care columnist Gina Spadafori.

* See complete list of endorsements at

Opponents of Prop 2

Californians for SAFE Food is a coalition of companies and associations. Key endorsements as of September 24, 2008 are:

Food Safety & Public Health Experts & Veterinarians: Alex Ardans, DVM, MS, Former Director University of California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory System (*Titles and affiliations are used for identification purposes only), Art Bickford, DVM Former Associate Director, Turlock, University of California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory System (*Titles and affiliations are used for identification purposes only), Patricia Blanchard, DVM, Branch Chief, Tulare, University of California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory System (*Titles and affiliations are used for identification purposes only), Bruce R. Charlton, DVM, PhD, Branch Chief, Turlock, University of California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory System (*Titles and affiliations are used for identification purposes only), Roy Curtiss III, PhD, Director, Center for Infectious Diseases & Vaccinology, Arizona State University, and Craig Reed, DVM, Former Deputy Administrator, Food Safety & Inspection Service, United States Department of Agriculture among many other experts.

Labor Unions: California Conference Board of the Amalgamated Transit Union, California Teamsters Public Affairs Council, General Teamsters Local Union 386, UNITE HERE, and United Food & Commercial Workers Western States Council.

Newspapers: San Francisco Chronicle, The Orange County Register, The Bakersfield Californian, The Sacramento Bee, The Modesto Bee, The Long Beach Press Telegram, Napa Valley Register and The Los Angeles Times.

Veterinary & Avian/Poultry Organizations: American Association of Avian Pathologists, American College of Poultry Veterinarians, Association of California Veterinarians, Association of Veterinarians in Egg Production, Association of Veterinarians in Turkey Production, California Chapter of American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists, California Food Animal Veterinary Medical Association, California Poultry Federation, Pacific Egg and Poultry Association, and Poultry Science Association.

Latino Organizations: California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, Latino Voters League, Mexican American Political Association, and National Latino Congreso.

African American Organizations & Opinion Leaders: Pastor Amos Brown, Third Baptist Church, The Black American Political Association of California, The California Black Chamber of Commerce, California State Conference of the NAACP, Greater Sacramento Urban League, Los Angeles African American Women’s Political Action Committee, Minority Health Institute, Inc., Oakland NAACP Branch, Sacramento NAACP Branch, Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles, Stockton NAACP Branch, Western Regional Council on Educating Black Children, and Youth and College Division of the NAACP.

View the complete list of opponents of at

Field Poll Results

According to a Field Poll released on 7/22/08, [cite news | url= | title= THE FIELD POLL; LOW AWARENESS BUT INITIAL VOTER BACKING OF FIVE STATEWIDE BALLOT MEASURES – PROPS. 1, 2, 4, 7 AND 11. | publisher=Field Research Corporation | date=2008-07-22 | accessdate=2008-10-07|format=PDF] after hearing a description of Prop 2, 63% of likely California voters polled said they would vote "yes", 24% said "no", and 13% were undecided.

Prop 2 opponents have disparaged that poll by noting that few respondents (16 per cent) had been aware of the issue. [cite news | url= | title= Voters Do Not Understand Proposition 2 | publisher="ThePoultrySite", 5M Enterprises Ltd., Sheffield, England | date=2008-08-18 | accessdate=2008-10-07] They also claimed that polling was skewed by the measure's original title, The California Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, which was later changed by the attorney general's office to Standards for Confining Farm Animals.

However, results of a more recent poll were quite similar to the first. A 9/25/08 SurveyUSA poll [cite news | url= | title= Results of SurveyUSA Election Poll #14440 | publisher=SurveyUSA | date=2008-09-25 | accessdate=2008-10-07] of likely California voters who have either decided or are leaning towards voting a certain way on Prop 2 gave the following results: "72% Yes, 10% No, 17% still not certain. Support for the proposition is strong among all demographic groups and in all regions of the state."

Vote totals


External links

* [ Text of Proposition 2]
* [ Yes on Prop 2 - Californians for Humane Farms] – pro-proposition website
* [ Californians for SAFE Food] – anti-proposition website
* [ The Public Health Benefits of Proposition 2: An Evidence-Based Analysis] - a pro-proposition argument
* [ The Truth About Proposition 2: Putting Our Food Safety & Public Health At Risk] - an anti-proposition argument
* [ Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching] - health implications of factory farming
* [ Feedstuffs Magazine] - link to legal analysis at Foodstuffs magazine

From the Official Voter Information Guide (draft copy) for the November 4, 2008, California General Election:

* [ Ballot Label and Ballot Title and Summary]
* [ Legislative Analysis]
* [ Argument in Favor]
* [ Rebuttal to Argument in Favor]
* [ Argument Against]
* [ Rebuttal to Argument Against]

More links:
* [ California Proposition 2 (2008) - Ballotpedia]
* [ Animal rights ballot initiatives - Ballotpedia]

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