Proposition 2: Why eaters should care

chicken.jpgFirst off, BiteClub is about the least political person on the planet. Except when it comes to basic human decency toward others—and the food I eat.

I’ll keep my philosophies to myself on Prop 8, but I think that all Biteclubbers might want to weigh in on Proposition 2.

Though its received much less press than some other issues on the ballot, Proposition 2 has garnered some strong feelings here in egg country. The proposition, headed up by the Humane Society calls for the elimination of certain types of cages considered by many to be cruel and inhumane to pigs, calves and chickens.

Because California is a huge poultry and egg-producing state (less so for pigs and veal), the crux of the argument, is centered  primarily around penning up chickens in small cages where they have little room to move and can be subjected to some very unpleasant treatment. Very unpleasant.

The “Yes” crew claims that passage will not only prevent cruelty to
animals but will also improve food safety (by not having animals
crammed together), support family farms (by improving quality and
safety) and make factory farms more accountable. Supporters of the
proposition include the Sierra Club, New York Times, Bill Niman (of
Niman Ranch), Michael Pollan, ASPCA, United Farm Workers, Jane Goodall
and a host of others.  Get the details on Yes on Prop 2 here.

The “No” side, which includes many local newspapers, say that the
Proposition is poorly crafted and would drive egg production out of the
state and possibly to less-regulated areas (like Mexico). They add that
a “yes” vote would potentially drive smaller egg producers into
bankruptcy by being required to make significant changes to their
operations and pay fines for non-compliance. Backed by large
the “No” side also claims that there could be
significant health issues (like Salmonella) from trucking eggs from
out-of-state (most eggs now come from less than 100 miles from our
homes). Supporters include the Association of California Vets,
California Farm Bureau, California Restaurant Association, Foster
Farms, The San Francisco Chronicle and the Press Democrat. Get the
details on No on Prop 2.

It’s a tough call. No one can argue with the fact that inhumane treatment of animals — even ones that we eat — is right. In an ideal world, all livestock would live happy and healthy lives without suffering. In the real world, however, our demands for cheap food make it almost impossible for farms to survive without streamlining the process to its most efficient methods. Methods that aren’t always quite so agreeable up close and personal.

Accountability is good. Taking away my local eggs isn’t.

Take the time to make an informed choice with your vote and let me know what you think about Prop 2.