California voters pass initiative to modernize food animal production (2008)

A California ballot measure aimed at improving food animal production practices passed by a wide margin on November 4, signaling an important shift away from the worst practices at CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations). Proposition 2 will phase out the use of battery cages for egg-laying chickens, gestation crates for sows, and crates for veal calves by requiring that these animals have sufficient living space to turn around, stand up, lie down, and fully extend their limbs. CAFOs, which often use crates and cages to crowd too many animals into too small an area, create unnatural and unhealthy conditions that lead to costly air and water pollution, reduced property values in neighboring communities, and antibiotic-resistant illnesses in humans. Proposition 2 is an important step in promoting a modern approach to agriculture that is productive, more healthful, and humane, and its passage is likely to have national implications.Download the UCS issue briefing The Hidden Costs of CAFOs (pdf).