Prevent Cruelty California is a grassroots campaign to ban the extreme confinement of farmed animals, specifically egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and calves raised for veal. This campaign started last November—I was late in the game and just recently signed up a few weeks ago to join volunteers all over California in an effort to gather 365,000 signatures to get a measure on the November 2018 ballot that would ban the sale of products from such animals confined in cages.
This modest measure for animal welfare boils down to us having basic human decency. Currently, these farmed animals are confined to cages so small, they can barely turn around and move or stand up, much less walk. This causes both physical and mental suffering. How could the average person object to providing these animals more space, when they already suffer so much?
Aside from preventing animal cruelty, this measure will also:
Improve food safety
When animals are crammed into tiny cages, it promotes the spread of diseases, which is why the Center for Food Safety endorses this measure. Salmonella—the leading cause of food poisoning-related death in America—is more common in cage facilities than cage-free farms.
Protect the environment
Extreme animal confinement creates a high concentration of waste—often antibiotic residue and other dangerous chemicals—which pollute our air, rivers and affect public health.
Promote responsible farming
Treating animals with respect tends to mean better conditions for farm laborers.
Establish modest sales standards
Even the economic analyses from the ag industry show that it would only cost a penny or two more per egg to go cage-free, which is what the largest retailers are already doing. McDonald’s is going 100% cage-free and says it won’t raise its prices at all.
Yes, I’m vegan. Yes, I despise any form of animal exploitation. Yes, I hate the fact that animals are being bred, raised and slaughtered for food. However, although the tide is turning, and veganism seems to be an unstoppable trend, there are still millions of animals currently suffering in factory farms who need laws changed that will improve their conditions—albeit modestly—as soon as possible. Why wouldn’t we do anything to help lessen their pain and suffering?
This is what I told the only vegan I’ve encountered so far while out signature gathering. She opposed what we were doing, and when she found out I was vegan, she basically asked me why I was helping animals get killed for food. Just because vegans are trying to help improve animal welfare, doesn’t mean that we condone what is being done to them in the first place, or that we don’t all want the same thing: animals free from harm and exploitation.
This measure is a means to effect positive change for the millions of animals suffering in factory farms now. We can’t simply wait for the world to become vegan while animals are languishing in factory farms with no room to even move or make use of their legs. What’s wrong with having a multifaceted approach to helping animals?
This campaign for a common-sense measure is endorsed by some of the most well-known animal rights and animal welfare organizations—from Mercy for Animals, Animal Equality and In Defense of Animals, to The Humane Society of the United States, The Humane League and ASPCA.
With only 10 days left to get enough signatures to get this critical measure on California’s November ballot, we need all hands on deck. Will you join us to make this happen?