Predictable Proposition 2 Campaign
It was inevitable.
A doleful, cute-as-a-button piglet stares out from the cover of the direct mail piece paid for by the Humane Society in favor of Proposition 2, the initiative the Humane Society placed on November’s ballot to ban what it considers inhuman treatment of calves, pigs and chickens.
Above the piglet voters are exhorted to remember “You Are Their Only Voice.” On the back are photos of a sow, a calf and a chicken. By voting “yes” on Proposition 2, the Humane Society mailer says, cruel and inhumane treatment of animals will be prevented, food safety improved, family farmers supported and the environment safeguarded.
The “yes” campaign for Proposition 2 has spent $6.4 million through September 30 to get that message across in print and on airwaves.
Of that total, nearly $3.7 million comes from the Humane Society. Actor Toby McGuire contributed $15,000 — $2,500 more than investor T. Boone Pickens. Painter Peter Max is in for $7,000.
Proposition 2 would prohibit a person from tethering or confining for all or the majority of the day “any pig during pregnancy, calf raised for veal, or egg-laying hen who is kept on a farm.”
Those pigs, calves or hens cannot be confined in a way that prevents them from “lying down, standing up, fully extending his or her limbs and turning around freely.”
Hens, for example, would need to be able to fully spread both wings “without touching the side of an enclosure or other egg-laying hens.”
Opponents, which include the poultry industry and some veterinarians, ended the September 30 campaign contribution-reporting period with $5.9 million in the bank. They contend that no California farms use veal crates or sow stalls and that the only result of Proposition 2’s passage will be the end of California’s egg industry.
The supporters’ website maintains a list of “rotten eggs” — large contributors to the “no” campaign who, supporters say, “have sordid records on animal cruelty, labor violations and environmental pollution.”
The Humane Society’s mailer says that “factory farms put our health at risk – cramming tens of thousands of animals into tiny cages and fostering the spread of diseases such as Salmonella.”
Opponents on their webpage say voting for Proposition 2 “threatens food safety and increases Salmonella risk.”
The Humane Society’s mailer says family farmers and hundreds of veterinarians support Proposition 2 “because they know that better farming practices enhance food quality and safety. Factory farms cut corners and drive family farmers out of business when they put profits ahead of animal welfare, the environment and our health.”
The website of the opponents says the coalition opposing the initiative includes food safety and public health experts as well as veterinarians. There are also family farmers who oppose it.
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