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California Proposition 12: Farm Animal Confinement Initiative

Public Domain. Cropped and resized

Proposition 12 has to do with the caging of farm animals.



Back in 2008, Californians passed an initiative to ban the practice of confining farm animals in extremely small cages. The measure said that animals had to be kept in cages that were large enough for them to turn around in and to stretch their limbs or wings. But the measure didn’t specify exactly how big those cages had to be.


Proposition 12 would get specific. It sets size requirements for veal cows, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens. Chickens, for example, could not be kept in a space smaller than one square foot per bird. And by 2021, chickens would have to kept in so-called cage-free housing.


Proposition 12 was put on the ballot by The Humane Society and they’ve contributed the most money in favor of the measure. Overall, the support campaign has raised four and a half million dollars.


The prop is opposed by two different camps. First, there are the folks in the ag industry. Specifically, the Association of California Egg Farmers and the National Pork Producers Council. They argue that farmers already spent money to comply with the old regulations, and this new prop would cause egg and meat prices to go up.


Proposition 12 is also opposed by some animal rights groups - like PETA - and the Humane Farming Action Fund, which has raised five hundred thousand dollars to oppose the prop. These groups say the the prop doesn’t go far enough and misses the real problem, which is industrial farming in general.


So a yes vote on Proposition 12 means you support these specific size requirements for farm animal cages.


And a no vote on Proposition 12 means you don’t think these specific sizes are necessary - or enough.