First off, how ridiculously cute is this photo from Cute Overload? Yes, that is a mother hen sitting on a sleeping puppy. I love how annoyed her chick looks. I mean, that's where he's supposed to sleep!
Okay, down to business. If you live in California, this post is for you. On the November 4th ballot, you'll have some cool stuff to vote for, and a few annoying items to vote against. Lisa, Peggy, Tina and I would like to encourage you to vote yes on one particular proposition: Prop 2.
Proposition 2, also known as the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, would make some small but important changes to how farm animals are treated in California. Essentially, it would "prohibit the cruel confinement of farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to tum around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs." (Source) For chickens specifically, the law would mean they would have to be in a cage that allows them to completely spread their wings without touching the sides of the cage or another chicken.
As someone who owns and cares for chickens, and who has seen injured factory-farm hens in person, I think that Proposition 2 is an important first step toward treating our farm animals humanely. Just because we eat animals doesn't mean we can't have some compassion for them while they are alive. Chickens may seem like weird, dumb birds to some, but I can tell you that they do have "personalities" of sorts, and they can feel happy or afraid. I'm sure the same is true for pigs and cows and turkeys. I just don't know any personally.
Many have pointed out that Prop 2 provides the bare minimum of quality of life for chickens, pigs, calves and other animals--and they're right--but I think it's a good first step for California. Hopefully, in the future we'll be able to take further steps to improve the lives of farm animals. Or, you know, maybe everyone should have a coop in their back yard. It is pretty fun.
The opposition to Prop 2 claims that the law will increase food costs and cause farmers to move out of state, but I doubt that. Estimates indicate that the law would cause a mere 1 cent per egg cost increase, and I seriously doubt that transporting eggs and meat from out of state will really be cheaper that treating animals more humanely in state. (Plus, nearby states Arizona, Oregon and Colorado already have similar laws in place, so I'm not sure where those farmers would move to.) And, honestly, I think people should be willing to pay a bit more so that an animal can stand up and turn around during its short life.
So, that's the end of my little political message. This election is going to be really exciting, and I feel hopeful that things will go the way I'd like them to in all the races I'm watching. Fingers crossed!