California One Step Closer To World's 'Strictest Farmed Animal Welfare Law'

A campaigner said 'this places California voters in a strong position to deliver a powerful punch to agribusiness interests'
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Pigs in an Italian factory farm

The proposed law would increase animal welfare in California (Photo: We Animals)

Proposals for the world's strictest welfare law for farmed animals will go to a ballot in California.

Under the US ballot system - a form of direct democracy - organizations and individuals can put laws directly to a public vote - bypassing politicians - as long as they can acquire enough signatures.

A coalition of animal welfare organizations - known as 'Prevent Cruelty California' - has surpassed the 600,000 signature goal needed to qualify the initiative. 

Legislation

The proposed legislation would prohibit the confinement of egg-laying hens, pigs used for breeding, and calves raised for veal within California. It would also require that eggs, pork and veal sold in the state would meet this same standard.

If passed, this would result in higher welfare standards than across the EU. 

The law would have implications for local farmers, as well as out of state producers who wanted to do business in California.

A campaign video by The 'Prevent Cruelty California' coalition

'Powerful punch'

The Prevent Cruelty California coalition includes welfare organizations The Humane Society of the United States [HSUS], California veterinarians, Center for Food Safety, and family farmers.

According to Kitty Block, President and CEO of HSUS: "This places California voters in a strong position to deliver a powerful punch to agribusiness interests who want to keep locking farm animals in cramped, overcrowded cages.

"We still have more work to do and I hope that you will support us in the next phase of our confrontation with the wealthy agribusiness interests that profit from factory farming. They have vast resources to use against this effort. But we're in it to win, and we have the commitment and fight on our side."