Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act

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A signature gathering effort has started this week to put an animal cruelty measure on the California 2008 general election ballot.  Coalition organizers are calling the effort a “broad” one since animal protection groups, veterinarians, environmentalists, and food safety activists are all collecting signatures for this campaign.  The measure will help prevent cruelty to nearly 20 million animals confined in industrial factory farms in California.

The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act provides basic protections requiring that animals be able to turn around and extend their limbs.. It will also prevent the use of inhumane factory farming practices such as keeping animals confined in crates or cages.

From the Humane Society’s website:

“It is exceedingly cruel to confine animals in cages so small they can’t turn around and extend their limbs,” stated Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “California citizens can help prevent farm animal cruelty by volunteering to gather signatures to put this historic initiative on the ballot.”"The vast majority of consumers oppose the cruelties that are commonplace on modern factory farms,” said Gene Baur, president of Farm Sanctuary. “This initiative will help raise awareness about industrialized food production and provide an opportunity for citizens to outlaw some of the worst abuses.”

Across the country, restaurants, producers, and retailers—including Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Wolfgang Puck, Smithfield Foods, San Francisco State University, and University of California-Berkeley—are moving away from crates and cages on factory farms, and switching to housing where the animals have more freedom of movement and socialization.

FACTS:

* Veal crates are narrow wooden enclosures that prevent calves from turning around or lying down comfortably. The calves are typically chained by their necks and suffer immensely.

* California factory farms confine approximately 19 million hens per year in barren battery cages that are so small, the birds can’t even spread their wings. Each bird has less space than a single sheet of paper on which to live.

* During their four-month pregnancies, nearly 20,000 female breeding pigs in California are confined in barren gestation crates—individual metal enclosures only 2 feet wide. The crates are so small, the animals cannot even turn around.

* The measure will prevent out-of-state factory farm operators from setting up shop in our state with veal crates, battery cages and gestation crates.

* Confining animals in crates or cages results in a high density of animals in industrial factory farms, leading to more animal waste and pollution of air and water, as well as risk of disease transmission such as salmonella.

* Florida, Arizona and Oregon have prohibited gestation crates. Arizona has prohibited veal crates, as well. Many major food retailers, in California and elsewhere, are moving away from supporting veal crates, battery cages and gestation crates. California city councils have passed resolutions opposing battery cage confinement. And all three of these abuses have already been legislated against in the European Union.

More information on this initiative and how you can get involved will come soon.  For now, visit the Humane Society’s website.