California sets the pace for the U.S. in many ways, as if being on the edge of a huge ocean (much vaster than the eastern U.S.’ sea border, the Atlantic) improves, or at least informs, long-term vision. On election day, Californians approved, by a large margin, what officially was known as Proposition 2, a ballot measure that will make illegal some of the worst confinement systems that are still industry standards in U.S., and global, factory farms. That’s crates for “veal” calves, stalls for pregnant pigs, and “battery” cages — crowded, stacked and stagnant — for hens. It’s California’s 20 million egg-laying hens who will be most affected. Well, future egg-laying hens since Prop 2 doesn’t go into effect until 2015, and legal challenges are almost a given.
Here’s a link to the official website urging a “yes” vote on Prop 2, and a pro Prop 2 editorial that ran in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago (yes, sometimes Atlantic Ocean air also brings interesting visions). The Times recently also ran a long article about the Prop 2 campaign and its advocates.
Election day in California wasn’t all long-term vision. Even as they voted in Prop 2, Californians also approved Prop 8 (although by a much narrower margin), which would ban gay marriage. Same-sex civil unions will still be legal.