Mar 11, 2011
The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has endorsed a ballot initiative being promoted by Washingtonians for Humane Farms – a coalition of animal protection and environmental groups, family farmers and food safety advocates working to end the extreme confinement of egg-laying hens in tiny cages. The coalition is asking residents in the state of Washington to collect valid voter signatures – 250,000 are needed by July 8 – to place the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act on the November 2011 Washington state ballot.
The extreme confinement of egg-laying hens causes unimaginable suffering and is perhaps one of the worst abuses associated with industrialized – or “factory” – farms. In Washington, there are more than 6 million egg-laying hens crammed into tiny, overcrowded cages that render the animals virtually immobile for their entire lives.
If approved by voters, the measure would take effect in 2018 giving producers sufficient time to transition to more humane methods, and do the following:
Prevent animal cruelty
The measure would establish minimum humane standards, meaning it would ensure that hens have sufficient room to fully extend their wings, turn around, lie down and stand up.
Improve food safety
Extensive scientific research has determined that confined hens have higher rates of Salmonella, as compared to cage-free hens. With more than 1.4 million cases of human Salmonella illnesses and more than 500 deaths per year, it’s the second most common foodborne illness in the United States.
Protect small farmers
Factory farms employ as few workers as possible to lower costs, making it increasingly difficult for small family farms to stay in business. Asking egg producers to meet higher humane standards protects smaller, family farming operations.
Michigan and California have already passed laws to phase out the cruel confinement of hens, and similar reforms are pending in several other states. In Washington, numerous restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals and schools have already joined the national movement by only using cage-free eggs.
We need your help to spread the word about the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act.
Please forward this to anyone you know that would be willing to help improve farm animal welfare in Washington – remember, they must be a resident registered in the state of Washington in order to sign the ballot petition. To sign up as a volunteer to gather signatures and to request the petition, contact Washingtonians for Humane Farms.
For more information on WSPA’s farm animal welfare work, visit www.EatHumane.org.