An interesting message appeared in my inbox the other day. The message was sent by an organization that opposes a voter initiative scheduled to appear on the November ballot in California.
The ballot measure in question is the 2008 Farm Animal Initiative. An excerpt from the e-mail I received follows.
Californians for SAFE Food, a coalition of family farmers, veterinarians and consumers, which includes the National Animal Interest Alliance, California Farm Bureau Federation, California Women for Agriculture and many of the leading avian science and poultry experts in the nation, ask you to join us and oppose this dangerous initiative. (emphasis mine)
I did some research on the initiative. Here is a quote from the text of the ballot measure (link is PDF format).
The purpose of this Act is to prohibit the confinement of farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs.
To me, the standards set forth in the initiative sound quite reasonable. And I have a hunch that the overwhelming majority of Californians will see it the same way. I predict the initiative will pass by a landslide in November.
If you look at the website sponsored by the initiative’s opponents, you will see a list of veterinarians who have, indeed, endorsed the opposition. But a check of the sponsor’s site will reveal a much, much longer list of veterinarians who support the measure.
I recognize that the initiative may create a burden for California farmers. It may also lead to increased food prices.
But I, for one, am not happy that veterinarians as a group have been listed in mass e-mails as opponents of an initiative designed to promote humane farming practices–especially when it seems that most vets (myself included) support the measure.
For more information on the initiative, click on the links below.
Supporters’ website: Californians for Humane Farms
Opponents’ website: Californians for SAFE Food