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Assemblyman Nava Joins Humane Society in Endorsing Proposition 2

The reform initiative addresses the treatment of livestock raised on factory farms.

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Thursday’s news conference on Proposition 2 included, from left, Jill Buckley of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Assemblyman Pedro Nava, Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the U.S. Humane Society, and local animal rights activist Hannah Eckberg. (Courtesy photo)

Assemblyman Pedro Nava and U.S. Humane Society President and CEO Wayne Pacelle held a news conference Thursday morning to encourage support for Proposition 2 on November’s ballot.

Proposition 2 is billed as a modest reform initiative that would end the cruel treatment of livestock raised on factory farms — operations that, unlike family-run farms, tend to cram animals in confining and unhealthy conditions.

Besides the basic humane conditions the proposition aims to give to animals such as egg-laying hens, pigs and veal calves, which are often housed in cages where they can’t move or stretch, the initiative also would ensure better sanitation, its supporters say.

“When you overcrowd animals on factory farms, you create an environment that is an incubator for ill health and disease among the animals,” Pacelle told Noozhawk. For example, he said, the incidence of salmonella is higher in a battery cage environment, where hens are placed in small cages stacked on top of one another, vs. cage-free environments. The practice of overcrowding also results in a “waste management nightmare,” which affects the local environment as well as nearby property values, he said.

There are exceptions, however, for the transportation of animals and during veterinary procedures.

“We have now what I consider an explosion of factory farms,” Nava said. “Factory farms are operated solely for the profit associated with maximizing the production out of the animal.” Thus, he said, factory farms are not as concerned with the welfare or longevity of their animals.

Against this initiative are several large livestock and egg producers, both in California and out of state. One of their main arguments is that giving the animals more space would cut down on their productivity, potentially forcing them out of California and raising food prices.

Proposition 2 is endorsed by, among others, the Humane Society of the United States, the California Veterinary Medical Association, the Center for Food Safety, the ASPCA, Reps. Lois Capps and Elton Gallegly, Santa Barbara County Supervisors Salud Carbajal and Janet Wolf as well as Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum and Councilmembers Iya Falcone, Roger Horton, Grant House, Helene Schneider and Das Williams.

Noozhawk staff writer Sonia Fernandez can be reached at [email protected]

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