Animal activists have raised 218,000 signatures in support of a proposed ballot initiative to ban sow gestation stalls and veal calf tethers in the state of Arizona.

Groups needed about 123,000 valid signatures from registered state voters to place Proposition 204 on the ballot. The Arizona secretary of state still must verify the validity of the signatures.

If approved by Arizona voters in the November election, the ban would take effect in 2012.

Joining in opposition to the ballot initiative is the Campaign for Arizona Farmers, comprised of the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation, Arizona Cattlemen’s Association, United Dairymen of Arizona and the Arizona Pork Council.

Their Web site, www.azfarmersranchers.com highlights the message “Proposition 204 is Hogwash” and debunks a number of myths propagated by activists.