October 1st, 2008


What is proposition 2?

Proposition 2 is a short, simple law. The essence of the law is in this paragraph:

25990. PROHIBITIONS.- In addition to other applicable provisions of law, a person shall not tether or confine any covered animal, on a farm, for all or the majority of any day, in a manner that prevents such animal from:
(a) Lying down, standing up, and fully extending his or her limbs ; and
(b) Turning around freely.

(See the prop 2 page for full text, key facts, and more)

There are exceptions built into the proposition for common-sense reasons, like treating an animal by a veterinarian. There is also a lot of time built in (until 2015) for animal industries to change their operations.

What does it mean if this proposition passes? It means no more veal crates, no more pigs forced to live in cages they can't even turn around in. It means chickens who lay eggs get to stand up! It means a lot to these animals. But it also means something to you:

Animals in such close quarters contract more diseases, are more stressed, are less healthy overall than animals allowed to move freely. Risks of salmonella contamination are 20 times greater in caged hens than in hens that can roam. Food poisoning is far more common now than it was before such confinement became common practice. Animals kept in close confinement also require greater levels of antibiotics that in turn help create antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which is a danger to humans. But that, still, isn't all.

A change in the law will make small family farms more viable. They will not be faced with the type competition that shortchanging animals creates.

This change will reduce the pollution of our streams and the air created by massive industrial operations. The changes would reduce the number of animals per acre, thus reducing the pollution caused by their waste.

The proposition 2 page offers endorsements by The American Public Health Association, The Center for Food Safety, The California Veterinary Association, and many others. It repeats the conclusions drawn by an independent study on farm animal confinement. Over 100 California farmers endorse the proposition.

What's the down side? It's possible that animal food products will cost more. Americans spend a smaller percentage of their income on food than any other country. I think we can afford the cost of improved health for us, an improved environment, and improved conditions for farm animals. Of course you don't have to buy animal products to eat if cost is an issue. Vegetarian diets usually cost less than meat-centered diets, even now.

If this proposition makes sense to you please help get it passed. Donate to the campaign (and help me achieve my personal goal!).

Energy use

Today a man came to the door. He was from the gas company and was offering a free review of my house and the fixing of energy leaks where possible. I signed up for tomorrow morning at 8:30. Told him I'd be dressed (I met him wearing my night shirt and messy hair, as if I just got out of bed, which I didn't).

Years ago, in my old house, I took advantage of these audits and fixes as well. They created plastic storm windows, sealed openings, checked ducts. Excellent. My gas bill is low but what's wrong with lower?