Prop 2 fuels 'freight train'
Emboldened by a victory in California, activists likely will increase their attacks on U.S. livestock and poultry producers.
THE industrial activism movement "is coming at us like a freight train," affects all of livestock and poultry production, affects states with and without ballot initiatives and likely will win additional restrictions on the way livestock and poultry are grown, according to Chad Gregory, senior vice president of the United Egg Producers.
Gregory, speaking to the "Simmering Issues Workshop" at the Midwest Poultry Federation's annual convention this month in St. Paul, Minn., discussed the aftermath of passage of the California ballot initiative on farm animal handling last year and "what's next."
He said next will be even harder attacks on dairy, meat and poultry producers by industrial activist groups like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which has become emboldened by its victory in bringing the initiative to the ballot and securing its passage.
Prop 2 becomes effective in 2015 and will force all egg production in California into cage-free housing despite negative effects on bird welfare, food safety and egg prices. For all practical purposes, according to economists and egg industry leaders, almost all egg producers in California -- including second-, third- and fourth-generation producers -- will be forced to close their farms, and California consumers will become dependent on eggs from other states, if not other countries.
Agricultural economist Don Bell, speaking to another convention session, said animal husbandry and welfare should be based on ethics and science, and regulations governing how livestock and poultry are handled, if needed, should come through legislation, not "emotionally charged ballot initiatives."
He said California consumers will be similarly dependent on eggs from non-California sources, although a bill introduced in the California Assembly could make that a moot point because state supermarkets would be prohibited from importing and selling eggs from any source that does not conform to Prop 2, whether in the state or in other states.
The bill, Assembly Bill 1437, applies to shell eggs from layers and other chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys or guinea hens, although it does not apply to liquid or powder eggs, according to its sponsor, Jared Huffman (D., sixth district). Read More
If you want to know what attacks American agriculture is going to come under from animal rights activists, we need simply look across the pond to Europe. You will also see the difficulty they are having feeding everyone as well. Egg producers are trying to figure out how to deal with this as much as anyone right now. However, we will all be in the same boat if we don't get active in this fight. If our food production suffers because of these efforts nothing less than our national security will be in jeopardy. After all the years of progress and innovation in this country, it would be a sad legacy to leave a hungry country to our children.