Proposition 12: Sets New Standards for Confining Farm Animals, Bans Sale of Noncomplying Products

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In 2008, Californians approved a measure requiring enough space for egg-laying hens, breeding pigs and calves raised for veal to to stand, move around and fully extend their limbs.

Proposition 12 in the Nov. 6 ballot seeks to specify how much space they get, banning the sale of meat and egg products from animals confined in noncompliant environments.

While some animal advocacy groups support Prop 12, others contend the measure doesn't go far enough.

Related: A Guide to the Propositions on the Nov. 6 Ballot in California, From the Gas Tax Repeal to Daylight Saving Time

Voting "yes" means expanding the required amount of living space for farm animals from "must be able to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs" to specific amounts: 43 square feet for calves raised for veal starting in 2020; 24 square feet for breeding pigs starting in 2022. For egg-laying hens, the measure would require 1 square foot of floor space starting 2020, and cage-free housing starting in 2022.

The sale of meat from farms animals that are bred in noncompliant conditions would be banned.

A state analysis say prices for eggs, pork and veal will likely rise, but since several companies have announced that they're working on providing more space to farm animals anyway, some of these price hikes were already likely to occur.

Voting "no"  means letting stand the current space requirements for farm animals, which are based on their ability to move, not square footage.

Supporters – The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society endorse Prop 12.

"The measure most likely would have little cost other than decreased tax revenue from farms and egg producers who might decide to get out of the egg or meat products business," the Monterey Herald editorial board argues. The L.A. Times and Mercury News editorial boards also support the measure, as does the California Democratic Party.

Proponents of the measure has raised more than $17 million, compared to the opposition's $566,000.

Opponents – PETA says it doesn't consider 1 square foot for hens "remotely humane," and that the measure will send the wrong message. The Association of California Egg Farmers argues it will "remove consumer choice." The state Republican Party opposes Prop 12.


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