Tomorrow, citizens in California and Florida will vote on critical animal protection measures with profound and lasting implications for humane work.
In California, a virtual army of Humane Society of the United States staff members and volunteers are making the case for a ballot measure that would create the world’s strongest farm animal welfare law.
In Florida, we and our coalition partners have been working at full throttle in support of a measure to ban greyhound racing in its largest remaining stronghold in the United States.
We have faced many hurdles in both states, including opposition from interest groups with deep pockets who have dug in against our work at every step. But today and tomorrow, we’ll be fighting to push these measures across the finish line.
Here are more details:
Yes on Prop 12 in California: In California, we’re leaders in a vast coalition fighting to pass Prop 12, a measure to ban the sale of eggs, pork and veal from animals confined in cages. If passed, it would be the most far-reaching law prohibiting farm animal confinement in the world, affecting tens of millions of egg-laying hens, mother pigs and veal calves.
When we launched this campaign, we heard from our opponents and even from some friends that we couldn’t take on the billion-dollar industrial meat and egg corporations and win. And it hasn’t been easy, with trade associations like the American Veal Association, National Pork Producers Council, California Pork Producers Association, National Association of Egg Farmers, Association of California Egg Farmers and the California Farm Bureau all lining up against us.
If we’re judged by the strength and clamor of our opponents, we’ve clearly made our mark. And tomorrow, we’re confident that millions of California voters will claim their opportunity to improve upon the historic precedents they endorsed 10 years ago with Prop 2, ensuring California’s position as a powerful example and bellwether for the nation and the world when it comes to better treatment of farm animals.
Yes on Amendment 13 in Florida: With tomorrow’s vote on a constitutional amendment that would phase out greyhound racing in the state by 2020, Florida voters hold the fate of this dubious entertainment in their hands. With our allies at GREY2K USA Worldwide, the Doris Day Animal League and others, we have been giving our all to this campaign, cultivating support from government officials, business leaders, civic groups, animal welfare organizations, local humane societies and veterinarians across the state. Last month, 30 celebrities, including Ellen DeGeneres, Pierce Brosnan, Slash and Owen Wilson, added their voices in support of a “yes” vote. In addition, Lara Trump, President Trump’s daughter-in-law, has tweeted and co-authored an op-ed with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in support of the measure.
Greyhound racing is a dying enterprise, already illegal in 40 states. Its cruelty is obvious: the dogs are confined 20-23 hours a day in stacked, warehouse-style metal cages barely large enough for them to turn around in, and death rates on the tracks are high. There are now approximately 8,000 greyhounds in Florida’s racing industry, and since the state began keeping records in 2013, 493 dogs have died on its tracks.
Opponents of this measure include three groups operating way outside of their lanes: the National Rifle Association, the American Kennel Club and the Farm Bureau. It’s sad to see non-stakeholders lining up against us, but we’re counting on Sunshine State voters to see the issue clearly, and deliver the 60 percent majority needed to approve the measure. Ending greyhound racing in Florida, home to 11 of the remaining 17 greyhound racing tracks in the United States, would all but guarantee the death of this industry in our nation, and not a moment too soon.
I will be in Florida on Election Day, reaching out to voters with my colleagues. I’ll also be posting live updates on the blog tomorrow as results roll in, if you want to stay abreast of developments in both states. Lastly, if you have friends and family members in Florida and California, be sure to share this blog with them so they can participate directly as advocates for the animals who can’t speak for themselves.