Today a key milestone was reached in the historic California ballot initiative campaign to protect farm animals. After months of energetic efforts to collect more than 660,000 signatures from California voters in every county throughout the state, I am proud to announce that the measure has officially qualified for the November ballot.

The Prevent Cruelty California campaign will get a ballot number in July. It would enact clear standards to protect farm animals and prohibit cruel cage confinement in the state. It would not only ban the caging of veal calves, mother pigs and egg-laying hens; it would, more importantly, also ban the sale of products that come from operations caging these animals—making it the strongest farm animal protection law in the world.

We owe a huge thanks to more than 1,600 volunteers whose remarkable efforts have given California voters this opportunity to forever change the lives of tens of millions of animals trapped in the misery of factory farming. These dedicated advocates gathered night after night, week after week, and month after month to get us over the top with signature gathering. Among them were working mothers who made time to go to parks, playgrounds and even DMV lines to gather signatures; retired citizens who got out and worked harder than ever in the blazing heat to reach their signature goals; and students who chose to spend their spare time collecting signatures on their campuses.

The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society Legislative Fund, and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, the sponsors of the Prevent Cruelty California campaign, and an array of organizations put their resources into ensuring that the initiative could advance. Our coalition is bolstered by many of the leading national animal protection organizations in the country, as well as fantastic local groups based in California, all with the common goal of changing the lives of animals for the better. The coalition includes food safety advocates, veterinarians, religious leaders and many other stakeholders. We are grateful to have the support of these leaders and their voices are critical in reminding Californians that this measure is not only in the best interests of the animals but that it also protects public health, the environment and workers in the agricultural sector.

Now begins the next phase of the campaign. Ballot initiatives are very difficult to qualify, but they are even more difficult to pass. Factory farming corporations are likely to spend millions of dollars fighting this initiative because they know that the success of this ballot measure will be the ultimate game-changer in the fight against factory farming.

We will need your help to take on these agribusiness interest groups. If the campaign succeeds, not only would the animals in California be better off, but other states would have a strong precedent to follow when they consider their own farm animal welfare laws.

For more information about the campaign, or to make a donation, please visit Prevent Cruelty California's website.

Paid for by Prevent Cruelty California, sponsored by Humane Society Organizations Committee. Major Funding from Humane Society the United States, Deborah Stone, Mercy for Animals. Funding Details at