Groundbreaking new legislation requiring egg-laying hens to be cage-free by 2021 has been passed in California.
The state-ballot for Proposition 12, part of the Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act, won yesterday (November 6) by 59 percent to 41 percent.
It defines a minimum space requirement for hens, breeding pigs and calves raised for veal, and has been dubbed the ‘strongest animal protection legislation in the world’.
Proposition 12 requires that, by 2019, hens must have at least one square foot of floor space. By 2021, they should have basic requirements such as scratching posts, nests and perches.
In just three years breeding pigs will need 24 square feet for their meat to be sold in California, and 43 square feet will be required for calves raised for veal.
The Humane Society gathered signatures to qualify the legislation for ballot.
Josh Balk, vice president of farm animal protection at the organisation, told the San Francisco Cronicle: “Confining animals to cages is not only cruel, it leads to food safety issues for our families.
“Confining animals often by the millions in cages where they cannot move an inch, it not only causes immense suffering, it also breaks down their immune system — leading to illness and disease, which is bad for consumers as well.”
Animal rights activists were overjoyed with the result of the ballot.
Director of new media at animal protection group The Humane League, John Oberg, described Proposition 12 as the ‘strongest animal protection legislation in the world’.
He posted a video on Twitter in the middle of the night after the results came through.
He said: “I am so so happy to see that the majority of Californians supports this bill, this legislation that is going to make a massive difference for farm animals. It’s going to end some of the cruellest confinement and make a huge difference.”
And he praised activists for their part in the victory. “That is because of people like you,” he continued.
“Thanks so much for your activism, online, on social media, on the streets, the fundraising, the signature gathering, the retweets, everything. You made this happen for the animals.”
In an ideal world, everyone would be vegan and there would be no need for Proposition 12.
Though veganism is rapidly growing, it is not going to sweep the globe overnight, and the legislation is an important step in the right direction.
Ten years ago California passed Prop. 2, which required hens, pigs and calves to have room to stand up, lie down and fully extend by 2015. Other states, such as Massachusetts, swiftly followed suit.
Proposition 12 yet again sends a strong signal to the rest of the nation and to the world. Hopefully the legislation will have a knock-on effect first for the US, and then the rest of the world.
What do you think of Proposition 12? Tell us in the comments section below!
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