Politics

Proposition 2 Debate

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Humane Society of the U.S. is pushing for passage of Proposition 2 but local egg producers say Prop 2 would put them out of business and raise food prices.

The hens at this Atwater egg farm produce many of the eggs you buy at Costco, Wal-Mart and Safeway. The hens are kept in cages. Up to six in one cage. Passage of Proposition 2 would do away with these cages.

Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society said, "Millions of egg laying hens are confined in these battery cages that are so small they are unable to even spread their wings."

Jill Benson JS West Vice President said, "There's enough space for them to stand up, lay down, move around and flap their wings."

California is sixth among the nation's top egg-producing states. Benson says Proposition 2 would kill the state's egg industry.

Jill Benson said, "It will drive nearly all egg farmers out of business."

"California eggs will nearly double in cost."

Paul Shapiro said, "This is scare-mongering from an industry that quite frankly has been gouging consumers, being cruel to animals," Shapiro cites this video shot by an animal rights activist in Turlock this summer. It shows an employee shoving chickens into cages. Shapiro says "The egg industry has a standard where bad has become normal. The standard is inhumane and it needs to be phased out," said

But Benson says such behavior is not the norm. And raising hens in a cage-free environment would be too costly and not healthier.

"The hen would be on the ground with her own waste, where the parasite in waste can cause salmonella in the eggs."

"We have the hens off floor and in these modern conventional housing systems."

Proposition 2 includes the pork and veal industry but is directed at the egg industry. So-called gestation crates for pigs have already been phased out. Benson says California doesn't have a significant veal industry.

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