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Proposition 2 is about me and you

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
September 10, 2008


"For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity." — Ecclesiastes 3:19

Usually I am not the one to bust out the Biblical quotes to help make my point. But when it comes to animal abuse, and the barbaric nature of high tech farming I'm not above or below pulling out the big guns to help make my case.

"To relieve an animal of pain or danger is a biblical law." — Talmud, Sabbath,128b

All animals, including those raised for food, deserve humane treatment for numerous reasons, first and foremost because those animals are us. An environmental activist who got his start via the animal rights movement, and someone who hasn't eaten a bird or mammal since 1987, voting yes on Proposition 2 is an easy call for me.

Proposition 2, otherwise known as The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, is about the humane treatment of animals raised for food. Proposition 2 would prohibit the confinement of farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, or fully extend their limbs.

Proposition 2 would ban cages for egg-laying poultry, gestation crates for sows and veal crates for veal calves. It would impose a misdemeanor penalty and a fine of up $1,000 or imprisonment in county jail for up to six months of those in violate of the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act.

It's wrong to confine veal calves, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens so they live their short lives barely able to move. Confining animals in crowded, stressful, and unhygienic conditions increases the risk of food borne diseases to which infants and small children are at especially high risk.

Confining egg-laying hens into crowded cages, with 6 or 7 other birds significantly increases the risk of Salmonella infection. Salmonella-infected eggs sicken 50,000 to 110,000 Americans every year. Animals standing or laying in their own filth is hardly appetizing and and completely unhealthy.

We wouldn't force our pets to live in filthy, cramped cages for their whole lives, and we shouldn't force farm animals to endure such misery, yet we do. In the name of industrial profits and bottom line ethics.

Raising animals for food in unhealthy conditions requires factory farmers to add all sorts of pharmaceuticals and pesticides in the feed given the animals to protect their investments. Public health advocates estimate that 70 percent of antibiotic use in the United States is on farms to treat sick animals and to speed the growth of flocks and herds. Giving animals antibiotics in their feed is also contributes to microbes in the livestock to become resistant to the drugs. And humans who eat a lot of factory farmed flesh to become resistant to antibiotics as well.

We are better than this. Californians are better than this.

Vote yes on Proposition 2.

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