Fueled by nearly 1,600 volunteer signature gatherers, the Humane Society of the United States and other members of the Prevent Cruelty California coalition have surpassed the 600,000 signature goal needed to qualify the historic farm animal ballot initiative. This places California voters in a strong position to deliver a powerful punch to agribusiness interests who want to keep locking farm animals in cramped, overcrowded cages.
This measure would prohibit the confinement of egg-laying hens, pigs used for breeding, and calves raised for veal in cages or crates so small that they are essentially immobilized for their whole lives. It would also require that eggs, pork and veal sold in California meet this same standard. Its passage will produce dramatically better outcomes for millions of animals, establishing a bright-line legal standard that cage confinement is forbidden. Once approved, it will be the strongest law against farm animal confinement in the world.
Gathering so many signatures in a short period of time is an incredible feat. I’d like to offer a heartfelt thanks to the volunteers who spent their evenings and weekends gathering in their communities. I applaud and celebrate their spirit and determination. These volunteers live throughout the state, in cities, suburbs, and rural communities, and come from all walks of life. They are the bedrock of this campaign. It’s even more gratifying to know that California voters met their hard work with enthusiastic support by signing their petitions in such large numbers. Californians have shown time and time again that they want commonsense protections for animals.
I also want to thank our esteemed coalition made up of organizations focused on animal welfare, family farming, food safety, the environment and more. This moment is a celebration of what organizations can achieve when we come together. The campaign is also bolstered by the support of hundreds of California veterinary professionals, faith leaders, farmers, elected officials and business leaders.
We still have more work to do and I hope that you will support us in the next phase of our confrontation with the wealthy agribusiness interests that profit from factory farming. They have vast resources to use against this effort. But we’re in it to win, and we have the commitment and fight on our side.
We’re forever grateful for all of your support. Let’s take a moment to savor this milestone and then press on forward to ensure that the Prevent Cruelty California measure wins in November.
P.S. We are also looking forward to your help in passing two more crucial ballot measures in November. In Florida, residents can vote to phase out greyhound racing by the end of 2020 at this year’s elections, bringing down the last big bastion of this cruel “sport” in the United States. And, in Ohio, the second largest puppy mill state in the nation, we are working to place a measure on the ballot that would require humane standards of care for thousands of breeding dogs, greatly improving their quality of life.