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May 20, 2011

Washington and Oregon's Ballot Box Efforts for Animals

Northwest states are key

  • Volunteers in Washington collect signatures to place 1130 on November's ballot. Washingtonians for Humane Farms

In Washington and Oregon, two coalitions of veterinarians, animal welfare, family farming, food safety, and environmental groups are working to place measures on each state's ballot to prevent animal cruelty, preserve the environment, and protect consumers and small farmers.

Washingtonians for Humane Farms is midway through collecting signatures to place its measure on this November's ballot, which would require that egg-laying hens have enough room to extend their wings—and that eggs sold in the state are produced in compliance with this modest standard. It would prevent Washington factory farms from cramming over six million egg-laying hens into tiny cages where they can barely move for their entire lives.

And Oregonians for Humane Farms recently began efforts to place a similar measure on the November 2012 ballot—one that would improve the lives of about 2.5 million egg-laying hens in the state. These two ballot initiative efforts follow California’s landslide Proposition 2 passage in 2008, which essentially phases out cages to confine hens. Since then, California also passed a law requiring that all whole eggs sold statewide be battery cage-free by 2015.

Already, scores of veterinarians, small farmers, businesses, and animal welfare, environmental, and food safety organizations have endorsed the Washington and Oregon initiatives. And many Pacific Northwest restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals, and schools have joined the national movement away from serving consumers eggs from caged hens.

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