Participate in interpretation
A prolonged battle would be expensive
and costs would have to be borne by both
large producers with national affiliations
in addition to the smaller independents
and family farms which represent 50%
of production in the state. The inevitable
publicity from a prolonged case would be
perceived by voters as a move to reverse
the will of the people.
The second approach is to intervene
at the level of formulating regulations on
which compliance and enforcement will
be based. Presumably all stakeholders, including the scientific experts representing
the industry, will have a seat at the table
counteracting the intentions of the opponents of intensive animal production.
The responsible state agency, assumed
to be the California Department of Ag-
Over $4 million spent by Californians for SAFE
Food failed to sway voters.
riculture, will have to balance political
pressure from both sides, weigh valid
scientific evidence and use practical common sense in interpreting the wording of
the proposition as adopted.
Egg quality will not suffer
If there is no counter-proposition before the 2015 deadline and if the wording
of the initiative is strictly observed, there
will effectively be no caged hens in California in seven years.
Shell eggs from caged hens will contin-
ue to be introduced from states east of the
continental divide to satisfy demand. The
difference from the present will only be
in volume. In reality there will be no perceptible deterioration in quality or safety
given modern production, transport and
Will history repeat itself?
The United States has witnessed
previous waves of restructuring in the
poultry industry. The post-World War
II movement of production southward
from New England states and the demise of egg production in New Jersey,
New York and Delaware are examples.
These changes and the complete relocation of broiler production to the
Southeast in the 1960s in response to
economic and demographic factors have
parallels in the current situation.
Egg industries in states which allow
voter initiatives should be prepared,
to either defend similar proposals to
California Proposition 2 or introduce
proactive, protective initiatives in advance of the activities of the HSUS and
The overriding conclusion from the
vote is that the coalition to oppose
Proposition 2 spearheaded by Californians for Safe Food failed to convince
the electorate of the validity of their
claims. This reality should not be lost
on producers in vulnerable states.
Communication and understanding
of how the industry produces eggs in
confined systems should be conveyed
to prospective voters. Virtual farm visits should be available on Web sites,
education of consumers on the nutritional value of eggs in relation to cost
should be emphasized.
Farm visits should be arranged for
the media, legislators and groups influencing public opinion.
The industry must convey the message that hens are distinct from companion species to defuse the misperceptions promoted and publicized by
the HSUS and kindred organizations.
Attempting to scare or sway consumers with arguments relating to “safety”
More on Proposition 2 and
industry opinions at:
•The Shane Report at www.WATTpoultry.com
or predictions of an escalation in cost
of product is a futile and ineffective approach and should not be repeated.
Developing alliances with consumers
and their education, a tactic successfully
interdicted by the HSUS which blocked
AEB funding, will be essential in counteracting future voter initiatives.
At the end of the day consumers must
understand that HSUS actions are less
directed to “improving” welfare than the
complete elimination of all livestock production and adoption of a vegan agenda.
The industry must continue the program of self-policing and advancement
of welfare, adoption of new scientifically proven innovations and must actively
A vociferous and zealous minority
must not be allowed to impact our accepted way of life or deprive us of the
opportunity to select what we wish to
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