Skip to main content

Proposition 12 – Confinement of Farm Animals

Printer-friendly version

General Election, November 06, 2018

Overview:

In 2008, California voters approved Proposition 2, which generally prohibited California farmers from housing pregnant pigs, calves raised for veal, and egg-laying hens in cages that do not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs.  Anyone who violates these provisions is guilty of a misdemeanor.

After Proposition 2 was passed, the Legislature enacted a law that made it illegal for businesses in California to sell eggs that they knew came from hens that were housed in ways that did not meet the requirements of Proposition 2.

Proposition 12 creates new minimum requirements on farmers to provide more space for egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and calves raised for veal.  These requirements, which apply to farm animals raised in California, would be phased in over the next several years.  For example, starting in 2020 egg-laying hens would need to be provided with one square foot of floor space.  In 2022, this would change to cage-free housing.

Proposition 12 also makes it illegal for businesses in California to knowingly sell eggs or uncooked pork or veal that came from animals housed in ways that do not meet the measure’s requirements.

A YES vote on Proposition 12 means there would be new minimum requirements on farmers to provide more space for egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and calves raised for veal.  California businesses would be banned from selling eggs or uncooked pork or veal that came from animals housed in ways that did not meet these requirements.

A NO vote on Proposition 12 means current minimum spacing requirements for confining egg-laying hens, pregnant pigs, and calves raised for veal would continue to apply.

Fiscal Impact:

According to the Legislative Analyst Office (LAO), Proposition 12 would result in a potential decrease in state income tax revenues from farm businesses, likely not more than several million dollars annually.  Proposition 12 would result in state costs of up to $10 million annually to enforce the measure.  In addition, the LAO states that Proposition 12 would likely result in an increase in prices for eggs, pork and veal.

CCC Position:

No position.

Reflections on Church Teaching:

“Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness.  Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all creatures that crawl on the earth.”  Genesis 1:26.

“So the Lord God formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each living creature was then its name.  The man gave names to all the tame animals, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals; but none proved to be a helper suited to the man.”  Genesis 2:19-20.

“Animals are God’s creatures.  He surrounds them with his providential care.  By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory.  Thus men owe them kindness.  We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Phillip Neri treated animals.”  Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2416.

“God entrusted animals to the stewardship or those whom he created in his own image.  Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing.  They may be domesticated to help man in his work and leisure…It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly.”  Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 2417-8.

“Together with our obligation to use the earth’s goods responsibly, we are called to recognize that other living beings have a value of their own in God’s eyes: ‘by their mere existence they bless him and give him glory’ and indeed, ‘the Lord rejoices in all his works’ (Ps 104:31). By virtue of our unique dignity and our gift of intelligence, we are called to respect creation and its inherent laws, for ‘the Lord by wisdom founded the earth’ (Prov 3:19). In our time, the Church does not simply state that other creatures are completely subordinated to the good of human beings, as if they have no worth in themselves and can be treated as we wish.”  Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home, May 2015 (69).