Wish They All Could Be California Chicks... | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
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Wish They All Could Be California Chicks...

Californian voters just approved a proposition that could make your omelette more expensive

smithsonian.com

You may have missed it in the frenzy of election-related news this month, but Californian voters just approved a proposition that could make your omelette more expensive (as well as more ethical). Pregnant pigs, veal calves, and egg-laying hens will all gain more rights in California under the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, which goes into effect in 2015.

The new law states that these types of farm animals must be given enough space to do the hokey-pokey in their cages. Okay, it doesn’t word it like that – it actually says they should be able to “lie down, stand up, fully extend his or her limbs and turn around freely.”

That means no more chicken cages like the one above, or veal crates like these.

Supporters of the measure argued that close confinement is inhumane and increases the risk of injury and illness to farm animals, while opponents countered that the law is unnecessary and could hurt California’s egg industry (the nation's fifth-largest) by raising prices.

Both sides agree that it sets a national precedent, they just can't agree on whether that's good or bad.

So what do you think? Would you support a similar ballot initiative in your own state or community?

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About Amanda Bensen

Amanda Bensen is a former assistant editor at Smithsonian and is now a senior editor at the Nature Conservancy.

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