|Philip Lobo, Communications Director, Animal Agriculture Alliance
The Animal Agriculture Alliance lamented California's passage of Proposition 2, the Standards for Confining Animals Initiative that will result in worse animal welfare, shutting of farms, and less safe, more expensive food for Californians.
"We are despondent that California voters didn't hear animal welfare experts' messages warning of higher rates of death in non-cage systems, increased rates of smothering, increased incidences of aggression and much more," said Kay Johnson Smith, Executive Vice President of the Animal Agriculture Alliance. "Our organization believes that quality animal welfare creates wins for animals, farmers and consumers. It is disappointing to learn that, in the tumult caused by all the various initiatives, consumers didn't hear that message."
Prop 2 will raise prices for Californian consumers while simultaneously causing a chill in California's agricultural economy. According to an October 2008 report, compiled by Promar International Ltd., animal agriculture contributes nearly 90,000 jobs, $126 million in property taxes and $590 million in income and sales taxes to California every year.
As importantly, Prop 2 will destroy Californian's ability to buy locally produced eggs - a staple in most households. During an August hearing with the California Legislative Analysis Office, a California farmer stated he produced eggs in both cage and cage-free systems with about 90% of his market being for eggs from cage production. The farmer told the government officials that the ballot initiative would force him into a business that did not have a sufficient market to support the change. Therefore, he would be forced out of business.
Philip Lobo is Communications Director for the Animal Agriculture Alliance. The Animal Agriculture Alliance, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, is a broad-based coalition of farmers, ranchers, farm and ranch organizations, suppliers, packer-processors, private industry and retailers. You can e-mail Lobo at: email@example.com.