Saturday, October 25, 2008

Animal rights and food production in CA--Proposition 2

Animal rights, and what kinds of food can be sold, continue to be an issue in California (and not just in connection with the 1998 referendum banning the sale of horse meat). Here are two stories about Proposition 2, on this year's ballot:
A California Ballot Measure Offers Rights for Farm Animals , and
The Barnyard Strategist

"Proposition 2, co-sponsored by the Humane Society and Farm Sanctuary, the biggest farm-animal-rights group in the United States, focuses on what are considered the worst animal-confinement systems in factory farms. The ballot initiative, which voters will decide on Nov. 4, requires that by 2015 farm animals be able to stand up, lie down, turn around and fully extend their limbs. In effect that translates into a ban on the two-foot-wide crates that tightly confine pregnant pigs and calves raised for veal — a space so small that they can’t turn around. And it would eliminate so-called battery cages where four or more hens share a space about the size of a file drawer."

Some years ago, New Zealand's Animal Welfare Act of 1999 gave considerable deference to the rights of "Non-Human Hominids," such as chimps and other 'great apes'. I recall Ted Bergstrom remarking at the time that there weren't many chimps in New Zealand, and that New Zealanders could have made more of a statement by giving rights to sheep. It looks like Californians are going to have an option like that at the polls next week.

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