There are more than 5,000 licensed dog owners in Santa Monica, according to the City of Santa Monica’s Animal Control Section, and I expect every one of them will vote Yes on Proposition 2 on November 4. Prop 2 would stop the cruel and inhumane treatment of animals by phasing out the worst type of confinement practices on California’s factory farms.
It’s hard to imagine pet owners would ever force their animals to live their entire lives in tiny cages barely larger than their bodies. But that’s exactly what’s happening with farm animals in California. Veal calves, pigs and hens are crammed into cages so small the animals cannot even turn around, lie down or extend their limbs. Calves are tethered by the neck and can barely move, pigs in severe confinement bite the metal bars of their crates, and hens get trapped and even impaled in their wire cages. They all endure lives filled with suffering.
Our local animal control service officers would punish pet owners who force their dog or cat to live this way. All animals, including those raised for food, deserve humane treatment.
When we stop the most abusive types of cruelty by giving farm animals room to extend their limbs, we’re also improving the health and safety of our food supply. We all witnessed the cruel treatment of sick and crippled cows at a Chino slaughter plant earlier this year, prompting authorities to pull meat off school menus and initiate a nationwide recall, the largest in our nation’s history. Cramming tens of thousands of animals into tiny cages fosters the spread of diseases.
The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production said that Prop 2 includes “the types of modest animal welfare public policy improvements that the Commissioners recommend implementing.” Voting Yes on Prop 2 will be better for farm animals, and also for us.
As the facts emerge, people will begin recognizing the need for this type of common-sense reform. Prop 2 provides until 2015 for factory farms using these severe confinement methods to shift to more humane practices. Arizona, Colorado, Florida, and Oregon have all passed similar laws. Our own City Council in Santa Monica has endorsed Prop 2, as well.
Supporting Prop 2 is much like supporting our growing Santa Monica farmers’ market, where people know that better farming practices enhance food quality and safety. We enjoy shopping at farmers’ markets for locally grown food and, as a community, take pride in supporting family farms. Supporting Prop 2 is a similar vote of support for family farmers who, unlike the factory farms seeking to drive them out of business, do not use cruel confinement methods.
Californians can end the widespread abuse of farm animals by passing Prop 2.Jane Garrison is a volunteer with the Humane Society of the United States and a spokesperson for the Yes on Prop 2 campaign