The Herdbook Ag Media, LLC

Animal welfare doesn’t belong in a court of public opinion. End of discussion.

If you know me, you know I was less than thrilled with a few particular election results. Namely, this was the passing of Florida’s Amendment 13 and California’s Proposition 12. Both issues were more or less part of the same ultimate agenda – to eradicate the animal industries one little chip at a time. Every time I see something like this on the ballot, my heart drops. Each time, it affronts true animal welfare and management, placing them in a court of public opinion. These types of proposals and amendments are constructed by politicians and activists, not a council of veterinarians, researchers or industry professionals. They are not rooted in actual science and data, the regulations and changes they propose are set by feelings of the outside looking in. And whoever can sway the hearts of the voters first, be it PETA the HSUS or rarely the industries themselves, wins.

Before casting their votes, how many citizens do you think sat down and thoughtfully consider their decision on science, efficiency and sustainability? Or went to a racetrack or a kennel or a commercial farm? I’d wager not many if any at all. Realistically, we know voters will vote according to who has the loudest voice. To whoever tells them is the most “ethical” stance to take.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve forgotten that agriculture (and other animal industries) isn’t about opinion or perception at all. We don’t vote about how doctors should practice medicine, or how mechanics can fix cars. Come to think about it, I don’t recall us voting over workers’ rights. But when it comes to animals? That’s up for grabs by anyone registered to vote.

The Florida vote was a major blow to the dog racing industry, as it is where you’ll find 11 of the nation’s
only 17 active racetracks. Literally, thousands of dogs will need to be rehomed before 2020, thousands of dogs with no jobs and hundreds of people out of work all in the name of “dogs shouldn’t be working.”
Never mind the industry already rehomes over 90% of its animals once they’ve retired from their racing careers. Never mind that the entire bane of a dog’s existence, the reason for their domestication and what keeps them in existence, is serving mankind.

This statement from the National Greyhound Association hits these sentiments right in the heart pretty well.

Consider California, an agricultural powerhouse that runs under a cringeworthy liberal climate. Back in 2008, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) pushed to pass Proposition 2 “to ban the confinement of pregnant pigs, calves raised for veal, and egg-laying hens in a manner that did not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs.”

This was a bill of the HSUS own making and marketing. It threatens to eliminate entire operations that fail to comply by the exact (unnecessary and excessive) spacing requirements by 2020.

Protect the Harvest shared this lovely little insight on their Facebook page that summarizes things very well.

This will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the veal, pork and egg industries. However, the effects will also be weighing on the shoulders of the public. This law will create many problems:

  • Higher costs for producers, which in turn, will create higher costs at the grocery store
    • Many producers will leave the state; hurting local economy
    • Many out-of-state producers will no longer supply food to California

And the process that got Prop 12 passes to begin with? It should come as no surprise as Protect the Harvest also pointed out:

Prop 12 was written, funded and marketed by the Humane Society of the United States. It was passed by an alarming number of votes because the HSUS used their typical deceiving tactics to push people into voting, “yes.” The Prevent Cruelty California Committee, along with the HSUS, raised over 13 million in funds to campaign for this proposition. They also paid people to gather enough signatures in order to get the proposition onto the ballot; the cost to get the required signatures – 365,800 total, was reported at $2,199,613.72.

But that wasn’t enough. Proposition 12 will now set specific guidelines and exact measurements.

“Beginning in 2020, Proposition 12 was set to ban the confinement of:

  • calves (young domestic cows) in areas with less than 43 square feet of usable floor space per calf and
  • egg-laying hens (chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, and guinea fowl) in areas with less than 1 square foot of usable floor space per hen.

Beginning in 2022, Proposition 12 was set to ban the confinement of:

  • breeding pigs and their immediate offspring in areas with less than 24 square feet of usable floor space per pig and
  • egg-laying hens in areas other than indoor or outdoor cage-free housing systems based on the United Egg Producers’ 2017 cage-free guidelines, which define cage-free housing as areas that provide 1.0 to 1.5 square feet of usable floor space per hen and allow hens to move around inside the area.”

There is a reasoning behind everything that is done in the handling, management, and breeding of animals. There is a reason millions of dollars are invested in research every single year. There’s a reason animal welfare is its own branch of study. Animals with jobs, be that to make products or be an athlete, don’t perform unless they’re taken care of. I feel like I’m beating the dead horse, but apparently that’s all news to the rest of the world. This simple concept seems so outlandish and difficult to grasp, but the idea that livestock are more detrimental to the environment than cars and factories is just common sense.

They don’t stop because there is no “enough.” For those who keep tabs on the workings of the animal rights movement know that the end goal isn’t about improving the quality of life for our animals. We know it’s all about the total eradication of animal industries as we know them. If we don’t act now and call out these small steps for what they are, there will be no future. The entire human-animal relationship as we have come to know and love it could be erased from society.

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