Prop. 2 opponents say measure is harmful

October 22, 2008 3:12:34 PM PDT
Proposition 2 on the November ballot seems so simple at first glance. It's a proposal to give some farm animals a little more room in their enclosures. But now, opponents say it could harm business, animals and people.

Proposition 2 would require that hens, pregnant pigs and veal calves have enough room in their enclosures to be able to lie down, fully extend their legs or wings and turn around freely.

Both sides agree on one thing, since there isn't much of a pig or veal industry in California, this debate is all about the birds.

Opponents say Proposition 2 is for the birds.

"Proposition 2 would put hens at a greater risk of developing disease and put consumer at greater risk for fowl borne illnesses like salmonella," said poultry veterinarian Dr. Nancy Reimers.

Doctor Reimers says that's because the extra room required by Prop. 2 would mean almost all hens would be free range, and the mingling would expose hens to feces, and wild birds carrying bird flu. Both possibilities pretty much eliminated by the caging system currently used.

Not true, say Proposition 2 supporters.

Wayne Pacelle is the President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.

"There's more salmonella in their systems and there are other health problems. That's why the Consumer Health Organization and the Center for Food Safety back our ballot measure," said Pacelle.

Hidden camera video taken at a Southern California egg ranch shows current guidelines for caging and caring for hens are not followed everywhere.

Supporters also say the increase in the price of an egg would be minimal, maybe a dime a dozen, while Opponents say Proposition 2 would double the price of eggs.

Fourth generation egg rancher Jill Benson says it would severely impact the egg industry.

"We'll see a loss of 4,000 jobs, $615 million from the economy and you'll see an increase in the state's carbon footprint by trucking in eggs from thousands of miles away," said Benson.

And those eggs could be from ranches that do not even have the guidelines currently in place in California, let alone the restrictions imposed by Proposition Two.

"Just because Mexico or some other place treats animals poorly doesn't mean we should do it here," said Pacelle. "We're already producing large numbers of cage free eggs. It's efficient so let's make California the leader in making humanely produced eggs."

Related links:

  • Yes on Prop. 2
  • No on Prop. 2


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