Protecting Farm Animals From Farm Abuse

Taken from The Humane Farming Association Spring 2015 Newsletter

Protecting Farm Animals- And Defeating Industry Counter-Measures by: Bradley S. Miller National Director

Virtually all successful anti-cruelty campaigns are eventually met with counter-measures that must be defeated. The Humane Farming Association’s [HFA] successful campaign against factory farming is certainly no exception.

Faced with our stead advances against cruel and dangerous factory farm abuses, the agribusiness lobby is grasping at ways to preserve its deplorable practices-even if that means shredding our constitutional rights in the process.

This year, whistleblowers-suppression bills [aka”Ag-Gag”bills] have been introduced in multiple states.  While these measures differ in penalties and prohibitions, all are intended to criminalize the documentation of factory farm abuses.

These bills specifically target the kinds of effective anti-cruelty investigations conducted by the Humane Farming Association.  Accurately documenting conditions within the meat industry has been a central component of HFA’s world-renowed anti-cruelty and legislative campaigns.

From 60 Minutes to HBO documentaries, from the Los Angeles Times to the Washington Post, HFA’s anti-cruelty investigations and media campaigns are exposing the reality of factory farming to literally millions of people.  This is directly resulting in criminal prosecutions of animal abusers and the enactment of historic new laws.

While combating the industry’s Ag-Gag bills in several states, we are continuing to push forward with anti-cruelty and food safety legislation on the federal level.

Key among the federal bills we are seeking to pass is legislation to stop the gross misuse of antibiotics by agribusiness-The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act.  It is well established that the only way factory farms are able to confine enormous numbers of animals in sqalid indoor facilities is through the dangerous misuse of antibiotics and other drugs.

Last year, of course, the biggest issue on the federal leval was the Rotten Egg Bill, Stopping that measure has been the most important battle ever won on behalf of millions of laying hens nationwide.

With that victory now behind us, HFA’s fight against cruel battery cages has now shifted back to California. That’s where the egg industry has been busy exploiting the problems with Proposition 2 and reinvesting in cages despite overwhelming voter intention to ban them.  We simply cannot, and will not, allow this travesty to go unchallenged.  And with your support, we will work to ensure that all of our efforts to outlaw battery cages stay on track!

Below find a guest editorial from the Sacramento Bee where I discuss this crucial issue in more depth.  I’m also including a legislative update which highlights several other issues in need of your attention and action.

These crucial issues are at stake.  We are counting on your strong support so that farm animals receive the legal protection they so desperately need and deserve!

THE SACRAMENTO BEE – Flawed ballot measure is coming home to roost. By Bradley Miller- 2-11-2015.

At this moment, millions of egg-laying hens are locked in factory cages throughout California. But wait: With scientific data pointing out health concerns for consumers, and public outrage over cruel conditions for hens, didn’t voters overwhelmingly enact a ballot measure six years ago that outlawed those cages?

No. They just thought they did.

The measure was called Proposition 2. its sponsors promised voters that it would ban all egg industry cages statewide by Jan. 1. Not merely increase their size, but ban them.

The inescapable and heartbreaking reality is that had Proposition 2 actually contained what backers claimed, California would be cage-free at this very moment.

Instead, the state’s egg industry is investing in new cages, as well as modifying old ones.  This obscene reversal of voter intent was mad possible by the determined negligence of Proposition 2’s sponsor, The Humane Society of the United States.

The Humane Society was repeatedly warned by the Humane Farming Association and many other animal advocates that the continued use of cages would be the legacy of Proposition 2 unless its fatally flawed language was corrected.

At the time, there was still ample opportunity to make clear in the initiative itself that cages would be prohibited.  At the very least, Proposition 2 needed to specify exactly how much space would be required per hen. Sadly, all those warnings were ignored as backers marched ahead with a hopelessly vague and utterly unenforceable measure.

Now, six years later, the chickens have come home to roost. And, unsurprisingly, they’re being put in cages.

State regulations provide only 116 square inches per hen-roughly the size of a sheet of legal paper. This is exactly the kind of intensive confinement voters were told Prop 2 would outlaw. This cage spce allotment does not come from Prop 2, but from seperate regulations written by the California Department of Agriculture.  The department has been explicit in stating that it is not enforcing Prop 2.  The same goes for local law enforcement, which is laughing off the measure entirely.

Worse still, in the years since Proposition 2’s passage, the Humane Society has flip-flopped on the issue of cages.  It even joined with the egg industry’s leading trade association, United Egg Producers, in pushing for federal legislation that would preempt state laws and , you guessed it, establish modified cages as national standard.


To distract from this stunning failure to deliver on its promises, the Humane Society now claims that the $10 million spent on the campaign was still worth it because Proposition 2 got rid of “veal crates.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.  Not one single veal calf is, or ever was affected by Proposition 2.  In fact, there haven’t been any veal crates in California since the 1990’s. Inserting a reference to veal calves in the measure was done simply to gain votes and to achieve a symbolic, albeit empty, victory.

There are, however, still many other calves kept in crates so small that they cannot turn around, as defined in Prop 2.  They are dairy calves known as replacement heifers.  Why is that still allowed? Because, despite the objections of many animal advocates at the time, those calves were excluded from the ballot measure.

In other words, Prop 2 sought to ban veal crates that didn’t exist and had not existed for years, while explicitly allowing the use of crates that did exist, and which still do.

After years of waiting for its implementation, Prop 2 is finally being recognized, and discarded, for what it is-an empty vessel of false promises, wasted resources and squandered opportunity.

California has long led the way in recognizing the need for better animal protection laws and for enacting them through the direct democracy of our initiative process.  In the case of Proposition 2, voters were deceived and the process was misused.  A fix is long overdue.

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