Thursday, July 9, 2009

Prop 2 Clarification Bill Dropped

Lawmaker to drop California bill on hen cages
By Jim Downing
Published: Thursday, Jul. 9, 2009 - 12:00 am Page 6B

A legislative attempt to make peace in the state's chicken-house wars is fizzling, meaning the dispute between California egg farmers and the Humane Society of the United States over the interpretation of Proposition 2 is unlikely to be resolved this year.

This week, both sides announced their opposition to Assembly Bill 1437, which would assign the state Department of Public Health to write rules specifying what living quarters are acceptable for the state's egg-laying hens.

"It appears that I have found the sour spot that both sides don't like," said Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, the bill's author. Huffman's district includes large egg producers as well as an electorate that overwhelmingly supported Proposition 2.

The measure passed by a 27-point margin in November, making California the first state to guarantee its hens enough space to spread their wings.

The measure, which takes effect in 2015, likely prohibits today's standard housing practices, in which eight birds share a cage with roughly 4 square feet of floor space. But it doesn't explicitly ban all hen cages, and egg farmers have been pushing for legislation that would give them the right to use larger enclosures, such as the roughly 60-square-foot structures used on some European farms. Read More

The debacle that is Prop 2 in California continues. The voters passed this proposition without knowing what it says. No one can agree on what the language requires farmers to do. If you think this happened by accident, think again. The language was very intentional on the part of HSUS. The uncertainty will force these family farmers to exit the business, which is exactly what they want. Their ultimate goal of eliminating animal agriculture is being achieved in California.

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