The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in an announcement released on. Feb. 28, that it has submitted the number of signatures necessary to bring an anti-animal cruelty ballot initiative before California voters in November.

Since October, 790,486 petitions have been signed and delivered to county election offices.

A total of 433,971 valid signatures are required for a measure to qualify for California’s November 2008 ballot.

The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act would prevent California farms from confining animals in crates or cages, specifically, veal crates for calves, battery cages for egg-laying hens and gestation stalls for breeding sows. The new law would take effect in 2015.

The bill was supported by Californians for Humane Farms, the HSUS, Farm Sanctuary and other animal rights groups.

Californians for Sound Farm Animal Agriculture commented that this measure threatens science-based farm practices.

The farm coalition said animal welfare policies belong in the hands of experienced scientists, veterinarians and farmers who are best qualified to protect farm animals and the food they provide to California families.

The California secretary of state’s office is expected to take about 30 days to determine whether there are enough valid signatures to place the matter on the November ballot.