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Proposition 12: Farm animal confinement

Summary: Proposition 12 would require farmers in California to allocate a specific minimum amount of space for calves, pigs and hens starting in 2020 to make sure that the animals are kept in humane conditions.

Public Debate:

  • For: Nearly 500 California veterinarians, the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States, California family farmers and the Center for Food Safety have all endorsed Prop 12. Their arguments are largely ethical in nature, saying that confining the animals in such small spaces is cruel.
  • Against: PETA and the National Association of Egg Farmers both oppose the measure, saying that it  does not go far enough to protect the animals. “It keeps hens in cages until 2022 and then leaves them in crammed warehouses with one square foot of space thereafter,” said Ben Williamson, a spokesperson for PETA. “We think we can do more and we should do more.”

Party opinions: California Democrats support Prop 12; CA GOP opposes the proposition.

Campus opinions:

Stanford People for Animal Welfare supports Prop 12, stating it is a “step towards alleviating the suffering of millions of animals. We hope consumers can acknowledge, however, that the cage-free label is incredibly misleading and that this small step does not imply that the products are humane.”

Stanford Democrats deferred to the California Democrats’ position that the proposition would be an upgrade to California’s existing laws relating to the confinement of animals.

SCR opposes the measure, saying that “it would allow even smaller spaces for chickens being cultivated and its bureaucratic changes may also drive some farmers out of business.”