13 October 2008

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Standing, Stretching, Turning Around” (editorial, Oct. 9):

Thank you for encouraging California voters to support the state’s Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, or Proposition 2, on the November ballot. This modest proposal would bring a smidgen of comfort to millions of hens used for egg production.

While some have suggested the egg industry should police itself, history shows that industries based on the backs of the disenfranchised do not voluntarily soften the suffering of those they exploit—all the more so when the victims are millions of hens the public never sees.

Recent investigations by nonprofit groups in California, Ohio and Pennsylvania have revealed the atrocious living conditions of egg-laying hens, though their owners said they were humanely cared for.

Consumer boycotts and protective laws are desperately needed. Proposition 2 is a modest step that deserves voter support and extension to other states.

Karen Davis
Machipongo, Va., Oct. 9, 2008
The writer is president of United Poultry Concerns, a nonprofit organization that is a sponsor of Proposition 2.

To the Editor:

The American Veterinary Medical Association urges California voters to think twice before voting on Proposition 2. Just because something sounds good on the surface does not necessarily make it a wise decision.

While well intended, Proposition 2 is primarily based on emotion and not on a thorough scientific evaluation of all factors that contribute to animal well-being.

For example, while Proposition 2 would provide greater freedom of movement, it would very likely compromise other factors necessary to ensure the overall welfare of the animals, especially with regard to protection from disease and injury.

To protect the welfare of the animals as well as the safety of America’s food supply, the A.V.M.A. calls for a thorough review of housing alternatives and the limitations that might be imposed by Proposition 2.

Unless experts in veterinary medicine and animal behavior are involved in the implementation, we fear Proposition 2 could ultimately harm the very animals it strives to help.

Ron DeHaven
Chief Executive
American Veterinary Medical Association
Schaumburg, Ill., Oct. 9, 2008