While the main focus of tomorrow’s election is the showdown between Obama and McCain, we’ve seen 2 major issues surface ’round these parts. Both are California Propostions: one is Prop 8 (amending the Constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage), and the other is Prop 2.
Proposition 2 “Requires that calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs be confined only in ways that allow these animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely.”
Basically, Prop 2 is an animal welfare bill meant to encourage the humane treatment of, most notably, animals being raised as/providing food.
The stated opposition for this bill is the assertion that animals allowed to roam freely will catch a disease, thus endangering the people who eat them. More specifically, the opponents of the bill claim that allowing birds to roam freely might give them Bird Flu. A compromise of providing galoshes and scarves for the birds before they go outside is not on the ballot, though Big Bird has served as a role model in the past when it comes to dressing appropriately for the weather.
The Yes on Prop 2 supporters claim that the talk of bird flu is a myth meant to scare people into voting against the humane treatment of animals; the No on Prop 2 people claim that passing this law will eliminate safe, salmonella-free eggs and lead to the import of Mexican eggs.
There’s been no weigh in from the Happy Cows of California, who are always seen roaming free in green pastures without so much as a sniffle. And although I personally see a lot of these cows roaming around in dairy country, I must admit I’ve never stopped to inquire as to whether any of them feel a cold coming on and would rather be confined indoors. (Ditto for the wild turkeys, who have consistently flown away from me and my dogs on hiking trails before I could get a statement.)
While the law is meant to protect all livestock, given the breakdown of California’s agribusiness the measure is, in point of fact, for the birds.
Whether the measure will fly and what it’ll mean for farming as a whole is up to California’s voters. Stay tuned.