June 24, 2008
Religious Leaders Speak Up for Farm Animals in California
A great battle in California will be decided by voters this November, when they weigh in on whether to forever change how farm animals are raised there.
Support for the California Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act is gaining momentum in religious communities throughout The Golden State: Four bishops, including the Right Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, have endorsed it.
Bishop Andrus (watch video below) presides over 27,000 Episcopalians in the Californian dioceses, which include San Francisco's Grace Cathedral.
If made law, the act would prevent California factory farms from confining its nearly 20 million animals in the most restrictive crates or cages: veal crates for calves, battery cages for egg-laying hens and gestation crates for breeding pigs. The new law would take effect in 2015, allowing producers ample time to transition to more humane and environmentally sustainable systems.
Californians for Humane Farms, sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States, Farm Sanctuary and other animal protection groups, family farmers, veterinarians and public health professionals, says the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act will simply require that animals be able to turn around and extend their limbs.
California Secretary of State Debra Bowen certified the anti-cruelty ballot initiative in April.
The urgent need for change on factory farms is supported by a comprehensive, two-year study recently released by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production and sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, which concluded that factory farms pose unacceptable risks to public health, the environment and animal welfare. The study's findings recommend the phase-out of the extreme confinement of farm animals—the very systems targeted by the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act.
The following is a partial list of religious leaders and organizations that have endorsed the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act.
- The Right Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California
- Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, California-Pacific Conference, United Methodist Church
- The Right Rev. James R. Mathes, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego
- God's Creatures Ministry & Catholic Concern for Animals
- National Catholic Rural Life Conference
- Rev. Paul G. Irwin, President & CEO - American Bible Society
- Pastor C. Song, Formosan United Methodist Church, San Leandro
- Pastor Ronald Dunn, San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church, Alamo
- Rev. John Gibb Millspaugh, Tapestry, A Unitarian Univeralist Congregation, Mission Viejo
- Pastor David Bringman, Trinity Lutheran Church, Alameda
- Pastor Roger Bauer, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Alameda
- Rabbi Leah Sudran, Petaluma
- Rev. Bets Wienecke, Unitarian Universalist Church
- Faith United Methodist Church, San Leandro
To be part of this growing list of religious endorsers:
- Read or download the religious endorsement packet, which includes all the tools needed to join a congregation in support of the initiative.
- Email: "I/we endorse the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act" to Humane Society Animals & Religion at email@example.com. Please include your name, address and congregation or religious community/organization affiliation along with your endorsement.