While everyone was talking about Obama’s historic victory, animal rights campaigners in California had another reason to celebrate. As well as being election day, 4 November was the date of a ballot which saw voters in the Golden State approving by an overwhelming margin new legislation to end the inhumane confinement of animals on factory farms. Known as ‘Prop 2’, the new law will halt the practice of confining animals raised for food in crates and cages so small that they can barely move, and will require that factory farms provide enough space for animals to stand up, turn around and stretch their limbs. The law – which will benefit 20 million animals across the state – will not come into effect until January 2015, to give factory farms time to adapt, but despite the delay, its proponents are delighted with the result.
‘California voters have taken a stand for decency and compassion and said that the systemic mistreatment of animals on factory farms cannot continue,’ enthuses Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, which was one of the primary backers of the YES! on Prop 2 campaign. ‘All animals deserve humane treatment, including animals raised for food.’ Opponents of the campaign, in particular agribusiness companies across the country, had spent $9 million trying to defeat the ballot initiative.