If passed, Proposition 12 would create the strongest law protecting farm animals from extreme confinement in the world. So it’s not surprising that the factory farming industry is campaigning against its passage.
The Association of California Egg Farmers is the leading force behind the opposition to this anti-cruelty measure. The National Pork Producers Council and National Association of Egg Farmers have also been in the news opposing it, making the absurd claim that animals are better off when they can barely move in cages. The agribusiness front group "Protect the Harvest" is raising funds for a campaign against the measure.
Oddly, a couple of animal groups are joining veal, egg, and pork producers in opposing the measure. We’re sorry to hear about their opposition, and we respectfully disagree with them.
Where Do They Stand?
Supporters of the 2018 California Farm Animal Ballot Measure
Opponents of the 2018 California Farm Animal Ballot Measure
|The Humane Society of the United States
Mercy for Animals
The Humane League
Compassion in World Farming
Animal Legal Defense Fund
Animal Protection & Rescue League
Compassion Over Killing
In Defense of Animals
San Francisco SPCA
San Diego Humane Society
Marin Humane Society
Center for Food Safety
Organic Consumers Association
Center for Biological Diversity
Sierra Club California
United Farm Workers
World Animal Protection
Animal Welfare Institute
California Animal Welfare Association
and many more
Association of California Egg Farmers
National Association of Egg Farmers
American Veal Association
California Pork Producers Association
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
National Pork Producers Council
California Farm Bureau Federation
Protect the Harvest
Humane Farming Association
“World Animal Protection works on behalf of factory farmed animals both nationally and internationally which we believe is the world’s biggest cause of animal suffering. With certainty, Prop 12 – if passed by California voters – will set the new bar for farm animal protection laws in the United States and across the world.”
World Animal Protection
“We’ve worked for decades to protect farmed animals across the globe, and Prop 12 will undoubtedly be the most sweeping law for farmed animals ever enacted.”
Compassion in World Farming
FACTS ABOUT PROP 12:
- Most pork sold in California today comes from factory farms using gestation crates. Prop 12 will ban the sale of pork from facilities that use these cruel crates, while setting the highest legal space requirements for pregnant pigs in the U.S.
- It’s still legal to sell veal from crated calves in California. Prop 12 will ban the sale of veal from facilities that use these cruel crates, while setting the highest legal space requirements for “veal calves” in the U.S.
- Liquid eggs (1/3 of all egg production) aren't covered under current California law. Prop 12 will cover them, protecting millions more birds.
- Prop 2 (passed in 2008) mandated that hens must be able to turn around and spread their wings. Prop 12 will retain that protection while explicitly abolishing cage confinement, setting strong spatial standards, and requiring important enrichments such as perches, nesting boxes, and more.
- Prop 12 will add enforcement mechanisms to current CA law to allow increased ability to bring cases against violators.
Prop 12 explicitly establishes that eggs produced and sold in California must come from cage-free birds. The birds will be able to walk throughout barns, dust bathe, perch, spread their wings, and lay their eggs in nest boxes, all vital behaviors they’re prevented from doing when confined in cages. While cage-free does not guarantee “cruelty-free,” cage-free hens generally have significantly better lives than those confined inside cages. This ballot measure, like almost any advance in the law, is about progress, not perfection. And if Prop 12 passes, it would create the strongest law curtailing extreme farm animal confinement in the world.
Facts About The “Humane Farming Association”
“Mr. Miller’s claim about Prop 12 repealing Prop 2 is a complete fabrication. It keeps Prop 2’s standards and strengthens them, which if passed on Election Day would become the clearest and strongest law for farm animals in the United States.”
Animal Legal Defense Fund
HFA has never successfully enacted any legislation relating to the confinement of farm animals, nor has it ever supported any anti-factory farming campaign that’s been placed on a ballot. Every ballot measure that HSUS and other leading farm animal protection groups have launched has passed by wide margins, with HFA joining factory farming industries in opposition or remaining on the sidelines.
HFA joined the Animal Agriculture Alliance (a factory farming trade group) in opposing California’s law prohibiting the production and sale of foie gras from force-fed birds. HFA not only campaigned against the measure, it even took out advertisements against the bill urging its defeat.
HFA refused to support California’s Prop 2 in 2008, the groundbreaking campaign to give egg-laying hens, mother pigs, and calves raised for veal enough space to stand up, turn around and extend their limbs.
The cockfighting magazine The Gamecock applauded HFA, noting that HFA’s campaigns against other animal advocacy groups “helps the cockfighters!” The editorial concludes: “Just like infighting tears the gamefowl community apart, we should be doing all we can to encourage groups like the Humane Farming Association so they can do the same in their community.”
It’s demonstrably false that the measure’s language will “legalize battery cages throughout California,” as HFA oddly claims. Prop 12 explicitly prohibits any type of system “other than a cage-free housing system.”
HFA has also falsely claimed that Prop 12 repeals language guaranteeing birds the ability to spread their wings. That ability is preserved in the definition of “confined in a cruel manner” (a definition new to this initiative), which explicitly says that covered animals, including hens, must not be prevented from “lying down, standing up, fully extending the animal’s limbs, or turning around freely” (behaviors that were also required by Prop 2). The measure requires that the birds – who will go from being caged to living in a cage-free barn – get a minimum space allotment of 1.5 square feet per bird in a single level cage-free environment and 1.0 square feet in aviary systems which allow the birds not only freedom to move throughout the barn, but also different levels to go up and down. To put that in further perspective, if Prop 12 doesn’t pass, it would mean liquid eggs sold in California could still come from caged hens who are given less space than a sheet of paper to live for their entire lives.
HFA makes another bizarre, false claim when it says that the measure was “written by the egg industry.” The measure was written by experts from the nation’s leading farm animal protection organizations, who have spent decades making real, positive changes for animals. In addition, the California egg industry is leading the campaign to oppose our measure, trying to delay a cage-free future.
In fact, HFA testified alongside the egg and pork industry against Proposition 12 at a hearing of the state legislature. That’s right: the only three people who testified against the ballot measure were representatives from the egg industry, the pork industry, and HFA. HFA’s executive even argued that states shouldn’t have the right to create animal welfare standards for the products sold within their borders. That’s the exact argument being put forth by the factory farming industry and notorious Iowa Congressman Steve King, who’s attempting to pass legislation
to wipe out animal protection laws across the country. (Yes, it’s the same Steve King who defends dogfighting.)
While factory farming trade groups are campaigning against Prop 12 because they want to continue to cage animals, PETA’s opposition seems to stem from a belief that if animals continue to be treated in the most horrible ways, then more people will go vegan. However, the evidence shows that progress for animals tends to beget progress. Legislative campaigns are just one way that advancements are achieved, and while PETA is not very active in legislative policy-making, this measure does nothing to hinder it or any other group from pursuing whatever reforms they choose to advance.
While we can agree to disagree on strategy, PETA, like HFA, is simply making inaccurate claims. PETA states “this initiative requires the absolute bare minimum, the same amount the industry already requires.” In actuality, the United Egg Producers requires only 67 square inches of space per bird inside a barren cage. Prop 12 requires that egg producers adhere to the UEP’s cage-free space standards, which are significantly better and ensure no cages. In addition, Prop 12 mandates enrichments be provided so hens can express natural behaviors crucial to their welfare, including dust bathing, scratching, perching and nesting.
In contradiction to its stance on this measure, PETA has vocally championed reforms that are significantly less impactful. For example, Ingrid Newkirk wrote in 2010 “I completely understand the appeal of battle cries such as ‘Not bigger cages-empty cages!’ and I encourage every kind soul who shares this sentiment to make a difference by going vegan. But…giving a little comfort and relief to animals who will be in those cages their whole lives is worth fighting for.” Prop 12 goes much further and abolishes those cages altogether.
Ironically, PETA’s UK affiliate is currently campaigning
for a cage-free measure in the European Union that doesn’t go as far as Prop 12! We’re glad that PETA is supporting cage-free reforms in Europe. We hope they will join cage-free efforts in the U.S., rather than siding with the Association of California Egg Farmers in opposing them.
The Bottom Line
This historic measure will make real, concrete advancements that will dramatically reduce the suffering of millions of animals and lead to the end of cages for laying hens, mother pigs, and baby veal calves. It’s a tough battle as lobbyists for Big Ag and others will continue to make deceptive claims. Please join us in striking the biggest blow ever against factory farming in the United States by voting Yes on Prop 12.