What Voters Approved

Despite millions of dollars spent against the measure, Prop 2 passed with 63.5 percent of the vote, had majorities in 47 of 58 counties, and enjoyed support among majorities of Republicans and Democrats alike.

California voters were once again ahead of the curve. Their overwhelming support for giving animals raised for food the freedom simply to move throughout their lives was no flash-in-the-pan sentiment. In fact, in the five years since Californians enacted Prop 2, the nation — indeed, the world — has been following their lead.

Thought leaders like the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof, former presidential speechwriter Matthew Scully, and Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker have condemned the extreme confinement of farm animals.

Major corporations like Burger King have announced a transition to 100 percent cage-free egg purchases, and other food retailers like Whole Foods Market have for years sold only cage-free eggs.  Many nations in Europe have moved strongly toward cage-free production and egg sales.

The states of Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington have adopted new housing standards for egg-laying hens.

And consumer awareness has been heightened about the conditions in which nearly all of the nation’s egg-laying hens are currently raised — no matter what factory farm undercover investigators visit, they find [video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”XXuY8rK3kTw&rel=false” width=”420″ height=”315″ anchor=”extreme cage confinement”], deprivation, and [video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”Bd_pCS9N5Vg&rel=false” width=”420″ height=”315″ anchor=”other forms of inhumane treatment”].

California voters should take tremendous pride in their foresight and compassionate leadership. And they should not stand idly by. Voters gave the industry more than six years to transition to new housing systems — changes that even the industry conceded would cost them less than a penny per egg. In their role as voters and as consumers, Californians should take action.