The Santa Cruz Sentinel today became the latest California newspaper to endorse a vote of yes! on Proposition 2. While some other newspaper editorial writers fell for the scare tactics of Big Agribusiness on Prop 2, plenty of opinion leaders have taken a thoughtful and careful look at the measure and have come down on side of protecting animals and food safety. I'd like to share with you some of the best excerpts from the editorials that have appeared so far in the campaign.
Many egg-laying hens are confined to a space no larger than an 8.5-inch by 11-inch piece of notebook paper.
The egg industry and large-scale farm operations say that the price of eggs will go up, but already many consumers in areas such as Santa Cruz County are buying eggs with the label "cage free." Some studies show egg prices would increase less than 1 cent per egg for producers.
And here's another sunny-side up thought: As the supply of eggs hatched in more humane conditions increases, the price of such eggs could drop. Certainly, as demand increases, California egg producers who comply with cage-free standards could market their eggs around the country with labels indicating this more humane method.
The veal and pork industries are already moving away from inhumane confinement practices. Egg producers can do the same.
Vote yes on Proposition 2, and give humane conditions for animals, even those raised on industrial farms for food. This measure is both modest and sensible, and is in line with how most people think any living being should be treated.
Santa Cruz Sentinel, October 2, 2008
When MediaNews columnist Gary Bogue visited a commercial egg farm in Gilroy a few years back, he was horrified by what he saw: About 160,000 hens filled a building roughly the length of two football fields. The birds were crammed into tiny wire cages, five to seven to a cage, squeezed so tightly they could barely move. The cages were on three levels, with the birds defecating through the wire onto the hens below them.
It's because of scenes like this that we urge support of statewide Proposition 2 on the Nov. 4 ballot.
...we also expect the heightened awareness that the new rules will create will lead consumers to look for eggs from hens that are humanely raised.
Animals crowded in cages are more likely to be infected with Salmonella and other diseases than those in cage-free facilities. The more consumers search for "cage-free" eggs, the greater the demand will be for California eggs.
Rather than import our eggs, maybe we can export a model for the healthy and humane treatment of farm animals.
We urge a yes vote on Proposition 2.
MediaNews (Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times, San Mateo Times, and other Bay Area papers), September 21, 2008
...among many other organizations, Proposition 2 is endorsed by the California Veterinary Medical Association and the San Diego County Veterinary Medical Association. Would those independent organizations really come out in support if they believed it would actually endanger public health? We don't think so.
Food prices would soar? We don't think so. A study by the University of California Riverside, comparing the price of eggs from cage-free and caged hens, suggested the producer price would increase less than 1 cent per egg.
Egg farmers put out of business? We don't think so. The restrictions have not prompted mass economic distress closings by veal or pig farmers in Florida or Arizona. In fact, in Arizona, the only hog farmer affected by that state's initiative actually sought to expand operations. In California, many egg farmers already operate caged and cage-free operations on the same farm. The proposition gives them six years to make the necessary changes, hardly an economic killer.
In the end, Proposition 2 is about the basic humane treatment of animals, even those raised for food. There are an estimated 40 million farm animals raised for commercial purposes in California. Every one of them deserves at least that much civility.
San Diego Union-Tribune, September 15, 2008
Think back to an undercover video from earlier this year taken at a California slaughterhouse. The tape--released by the Humane Society of the United States--revealed sick and debilitated cows.
Workers at the Chino slaughterhouse shocked crippled animals and shoved them with forklifts.
The meat from these animals had the potential to make people ill, and government officials had to issue a recall of 143 million pounds of meat. Suppliers had shipped much of the meat to schools for lunch programs.
As we noted back then, relying on a recall is no way to run a food-safety program. How many more millions of pounds of beef should have been recalled in the last year but weren't because there was no secret video?
A report by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production released earlier this year says many conditions of the present industrial-scale farm industry need improvement. Without reforms, there is unacceptable risk to the environment and public health.
A measure on November's ballot gives Californians a chance to improve food safety and the conditions in which farm animals live.
Santa Barbara News-Press, September 9, 2008