California has passed what has been described as ‘the strongest animal welfare measure in history’.
The new legislation – known as Proposition 12 (the Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act) – will be implemented by September 1, 2019.
It will see a slew of welfare measures put into place – with animals farmed in California being given more space.
“Prop 12 will establish minimum space requirements for California calves used in the veal industry, mother pigs, and hens farmed for eggs,” said international animal protection agency Animal Equality.
“Not only will more space be provided for these animals, the measure will also ensure that food items sold in California are compliant with these modest standards.
“Furthermore, this historic measure will guarantee hens the ability to engage in natural behaviors that are prevented by cage confinement, including spreading their wings, moving around throughout the barns, perching, and dust bathing. This measure also applies to liquid eggs, which make up one-third of all egg production.”
History in the making
Before Prop 12 was passed, Josh Balk, Vice President of Farm Animals Protection for the Humane Society of the United States [HSUS] called it ‘history in the making’.
He added: “This is the greatest shot farm animals have ever had.”
But vegan charity PETA has criticized the legislation, saying it doesn’t go far enough: “PETA is an abolitionist organization, but we understand the necessity of taking small steps along the way and have long supported animal-welfare legislation that reduces suffering,” a statement said.
“However, this initiative is a step backward. It would ingrain the farming practice of giving hens a minuscule amount of space for years to come – at a time when companies are already requiring that hens be ‘cage-free’ as a result of massive consumer demand, in large part because of PETA’s decades-long vegan campaign.
“It also sends the wrong message to consumers. We can’t and don’t consider it remotely humane to confine birds to a miserly 1 square foot of space -and this wouldn’t even be required until years in the future.”