For a more in depth discussion of Proposition 12, and the ten other initiatives on the ballot this November you can watch the forum in its entirety on YouTube or read the full analyses here. And keep your eyes peeled on The CAP⋅impact Podcast’s feed on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, or wherever you get your podcasts from for analysis of this year’s ballot initiatives in your headphones coming next week.

Proposition 12 – Standards for Confinement of Specified Farm Animals; Bans Sale of Noncomplying Products

Current Law

  • California’s laws on animal cruelty are extensive, covering a wide range of behaviors and types of animals.
  • These concerns led to Proposition 12’s predecessor, Proposition 2 (2008), which targeted the treatment of farm animals.
  • Proposition 2 did not provide specific size requirements for the confinement of farm animals. The only standard it created was that farm animals “must be able to turn around freely, lie down, stand up and extend their limbs.”

Proposed Law

  • Proposition 12 amends the California Health and Safety Code and would address issues Proposition 2 did not address.
  • Proposition 12 sets specific space requirements for the confinement of egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and calves raised for veal. These would be phased in over several years.
  • Starting in 2020, egg-laying hens would be required to have 1 square foot of floor space, and calves raised for veal would be required to have 43 square feet of floor space. Starting in 2022, egg-laying hens must be in cage-free housing, and breeding pigs would be required to have 24 square feet of floor space.
  • Proposition 12 would prohibit businesses from knowingly selling eggs, liquid eggs, uncooked pork, or veal that come from animals that are housed in ways that do not meet the new requirements.
  • Proposition 12 also provides two key changes to enforcement:
    • It requires the California Department of Food and Agriculture promulgate rules and regulations for the implementation of the act by September 1, 2019.
    • It provides that any person in violation of the act is guilty of a misdemeanor and is to be punished either by imprisonment or by paying a fine not to exceed $1000.

Policy Considerations

Yes on Proposition 12 No on Proposition 12
  • A YES vote means farmers would be required to provide more space for egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and veal calves.
  • California businesses would be banned from selling eggs or uncooked pork or veal that came from animals housed in ways that did not meet these requirements.
  • Prop 12 is a necessary step towards ending cruelty against farm animals.
  • Prop 12 will reduce risk of food poisoning, lead to job growth, and sensibly strengthen anti-cruelty laws put forward by prior law.
  • A NO vote means the current law relating to space and businesses selling animal products remain the same.
  • Proposition 12 is deceiving voters because it would actually prolong the suffering of animals rather than relieve it.
  • California was supposed to be “cage-free” in 2015, and Proposition 12 simply prolongs the suffering of egg-laying hens since it extends the deadline to comply with the law.
  • Based on the language of the proposed standards, Proposition 12 will actually result in smaller confinement spaces rather than larger spaces.

Analysis of Proposition 12 provided by Anna Lisa Thomas and Kevin Bursey.