Despite more than 30 newspapers in opposition, California voters by an estimated margin of 63% to 37% approved Proposition 2, the proposed Standards for Confining Farm Animals.

The endorsement, according to the California Secretary of State does the following:

  • Requires that calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs “be confined only in ways that allow these animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely for the majority of the day.”
  • Provides exceptions for transportation, rodeos, fairs, 4-H programs, lawful slaughter, research and veterinary purposes.
  • Establishes misdemeanor penalties, including a fine not to exceed $1,000 and/or imprisonment in jail for up to 180 days.

The law becomes effective in 2015.

Similar measures have been passed in other states this decade:
Nov. 5, 2002 – Florida passed Amendment 10, which bans the confinement of pregnant pigs in gestation crates.
Nov. 7, 2006 – Arizona approved Proposition 204, which prohibits the confinement of calves in veal crates and breeding sows in gestation crates.
June 28, 2007 – Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed into law a measure banning the confinement of pigs in gestation crates.
May 14, 2008 – Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter signed into law a bill that phases out gestation crates and veal crates.

There have also been defeats of similar actions. Two earlier attempts in California failed, as well as an effort in Nebraska in January 2008 to ban the use of gestation crates for hog farmers.

The latest California measure was supported by the Humane Society of the United States, Sierra Club of California, California Veterinary Medical Association and more than 100 farmers.

Leading the group of opponents to Proposition 2 was Californians for Safe Food, which issued a statement saying proponents “led an emotionally manipulative, dishonest and often deceptive campaign.”

Numerous state animal health professionals and veterinary groups opposed the measure, including the Association of California Veterinarians, a group of veterinarians who split off from the state veterinary medical association over the issue.