YES on Prop. 2
That is how I intend to vote on Proposition 2 tomorrow.
I will not address the arguments against the proposition that are included in the Official Voter Information Guide. That the statement authors could not refrain from gratuitous use of CAPS should already be cause for suspicion.
And the anti-Proposition 2 advertisements are reminiscent to me of the “Jar Glove” sketch on Saturday Night Live. So I will not respond to the runaway train of paranoid thoughts.
The arguments for the “free” market, to which I am typically partial, break down when the burden of education is left to consumers. How many consumers verify the conditions of the laying hen from whose crate the egg was collected? There are many products for which we do not have the time to investigate whether or not the processing meets our own standards of ethics. Are we obliged to attend all factory farm tours throughout the State of California? Where animals are concerned, I think rather that we, as a society, should be willing to afford the cost of preventative legislation. The European Union has collectively accepted already the expense of an ethical omelette.
Furthermore, though cost should not be the principle issue where life, even animal life, is concerned, an increase in the price of 1¢ per egg is not the force to drive farmers out of business. The price of an ethically and humanely collected egg should be the minimum market price for an egg. And for a modern and civilized society, unfit long-term confinement of animals, even those who are just food to us, is unnecessary.
Not all will agree on what constitutes “humane” or “unfit” in this case. The prohibition states
“a person shall not tether or confine any covered animal, on a farm, for all or the majority of any day, in a manner that prevents such animal from:
(a) Lying down, standing up, and fully extending his or her limbs; and
(b) Turning around freely.
I do not find this to be objectionable or unreasonable, and these provisions should be minimum criteria for humane and fitting accommodations. Any criticism evoked, I would expect to be voiced by animal rights advocates who argue that these, combined with all of the exceptions, constitute insufficient protection of animals.
I am most disappointed by my fellow aviculturists regarding this issue. These are people who probably prepare tastier and more nutritive meals for their birds than for their own family members. They would not bear the thought of their exotic birds housed in battery cages without a glimpse of sunlight. And yet they, who so love, birds will not endorse this out of fear that the PETA and the other animal rights fanatics will strip us of our right to keep exotic birds. This is just another runaway train of paranoia ridding the tracks of progressive thinking.
Aviculturists appreciate birds, even edible and prehistoric ones like chickens, and we should be concerned about animal welfare just as we are concerned about conservation efforts and preservation of the human-Avian interface from which we learn so much.
As an aviculturist, I intend to vote YES on Proposition 2 tomorrow.