August 2008 Blog Home October 2008


21 posts from September 2008


September 30, 2008

Silencing the Guns

There's always been a special place in my heart reserved for wolves. The book I read over and over again as an adolescent was a hardcover National Geographic title called "Vanishing Wildlife of North America." Staring back at me, on the cover, was the most handsome gray wolf you could imagine, looking straight ahead with luminous eyes and with a dusting of snow crystals on his thick, rich gray and white fur. He was photographed on Isle Royale National Park in northern Michigan.

Gray wolf
© USFWS

Some years later, it was no accident that I landed a four-month summer position with the Student Conservation Association at Isle Royale, an archipelago surrounded by the waters of Lake Superior just a short few miles by motorboat to the invisible U.S.-Canada border that transects the world's biggest lake. If I had any turning point on the issue of animal protection—a vision that we could be protectors of animals, not their exploiters—this was it.

I'd paddle my canoe late at night on the still waters of Lake Superior, and drink up the quiet and awe of this place. In these silent and reflective moments, I decided I was all in. I was going to devote myself to protecting the wild and domesticated creatures of this planet.

So it's with great pride that I say we've done a good and powerful thing for the wolves of the Great Lakes region—the place where I made my oath. I’m delighted to report that yesterday, in response to a lawsuit filed by The HSUS and other animal protection groups, a federal court in Washington, D.C. blocked the Bush Administration’s attempt to strip the Great Lakes population of gray wolves of all protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service turned wolf management over to the states of Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin, which opened the door to the killing of wolves by trophy hunters and trappers. Remarkably, the states had authorized the killing of nearly 50 percent of the region’s wolf population. But our legal team put a stop to that yesterday, and as a result the wolves in the Great Lakes are once again a federally protected species.

The decision prevents a repeat of the same mentality that drove this animal to the brink of extinction in the first place, and struck a heavy blow to the heart of wealthy trophy hunting groups like Safari Club International, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, and the National Rifle Association. These extremist hunting groups intervened in the case to advocate for the delisting of the species because their members were champing at the bit to take part in the largest slaughter of wolves since the early 1900s. Their arguments were summarily brushed aside by the court.

Silhouette of wolf
© Corbis

Hundreds of thousands of gray wolves once ranged across the United States. However, bounty programs, which lasted through the mid-1900s, nearly eliminated the gray wolf from the lower 48 states. The current wolf population numbers around 5,000 and is concentrated in two fragile remnant regions—the western Great Lakes and the northern Rocky Mountains—but the species is still absent from more than 90 percent of its historic range.

Our courtroom victory yesterday closes the door on this Administration’s entire wolf delisting scheme, as The HSUS and a broad coalition of conservation groups recently succeeded in restoring the Rocky Mountain wolf population to the endangered species list in a similar case filed in Montana. That decision prevented Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming from instituting their own hunting program for wolves this fall.

The significance of these two cases cannot be overstated. Due to our litigation efforts, the entire American wolf species will continue to receive federal protection, and the leghold traps and the trophy hunters’ guns will not do their work with these animals. It’s a great day for wolves.

I wish I could go back up to Isle Royale for a celebratory howl with the wolves.

September 29, 2008

From Horrors to Happy Endings

The HSUS is still on the ground in Galveston County, Texas, working to rescue animals stranded by Hurricane Ike. But this weekend several members of our Emergency Services team, many who have been deployed in the field for seven weeks now, were called north—far north.

281x144_canada_mill
© The HSUS/Turner
One of 110 dogs rescued from the Canadian puppy mill.

On Friday they joined our global affiliate Humane Society International (HSI) to assist in the rescue of more than 100 dogs from absolutely atrocious conditions at a Montreal puppy mill.

It is with a heavy heart that I write here about what the team discovered. The images sent back from the scene have turned knots in my stomach, so I can only imagine what our staff on the ground experienced. Scotlund Haisley, our senior director of Emergency Services, writes in his field notes, “I have lead many puppy mill raids during my career, but this may be the most disturbing facility I have ever set foot on.”

The majority of the animals rescued were nothing more than skin and bones. Some were so frail they could barely lift their heads. The skeletal remains of several dogs lay hauntingly inside cages. A small beagle was discovered in a closed plastic storage container amongst cages of dogs crammed into a closet, where he had been left to die. A mound of incinerated dogs was found outside the home.

While it’s nearly impossible to look past each of these small tragedies, we are hopeful in knowing that the raid itself was groundbreaking—we believe this was one of the largest puppy mill raids in Québec’s history. With news coverage of the rescue mission, countless Canadians have now learned about the deadly cycle of puppy mills and our work in eradicating these cruel operations.

And, as with all of our rescue missions, I trust that a silver lining will emerge—a happy ending that washes away the immense pain we’ve uncovered.

281x144_dr_adonis_with_patient
© Philippine Animal Welfare Society
"Dr. Adonis" with a hospital patient.

Such is the case with Adonis. A year ago here on the blog I told you about HSI’s campaign to stop the commercial slaughter of dogs for food in the Philippines, and I shared video footage from a rescue mission we assisted in, intercepting 100 dogs bound for slaughter.

Adonis was among those rescued dogs. Dubbed Brown-Brown at the time, he has now been rehabilitated and adopted into a permanent home, and serves as a certified therapy dog with the Philippine Animal Welfare Society’s Dr. Dog program. We’ve shared Adonis’s touching story on our website and also in a video update about the campaign, and I hope you enjoy it.

September 26, 2008

Talk Back: In Your Words

Yesonprop2_pig_vid Yesterday, we released a new flash animation video, "Uncaged," and I emailed it to many of you. But it's so good, I wanted to remind you to watch it and be sure to pass it along to friends.

Today I also wanted to share some of your recent feedback. It's always a pleasure to read your comments and see what's on your mind—let's keep the discussion going.

My piece in The New York Times about the trials and tribulations of finding vegan fare while traveling inspired many of you to share your own stories. Among your comments:

AWESOME! I keep a blog which chronicles my adventures in finding vegan food here in Las Vegas. I'm not on a mission to find "vegetarian/vegan restaurants" but finding appropriate food in the most unlikely places. Feel free to check it out. —Lisa J.

Hi! I wanted to say that as a vegan who loves to travel, I found your story useful as well as fun—I hadn't thought of mixed nuts. I got through airport security last time I flew with two small baggies of homemade chocolate chip cookies. I think the smaller bags are more likely to be passed through security. —Cassandra

Hi Wayne, I am not a vegan, but I am a vegetarian. The first thing I gave up was pork after watching a PETA undercover video many years [ago] showing the horrible treatment pigs got just before they were slaughtered. I was so outraged that I gave up pork and eventually, I gave up other meats too. As a single woman, I find it difficult to find men who are vegetarians/vegans. When I tell them that I am a vegetarian, they all seem to look at me like I have a third eye or something. I would rather be alone than with someone who doesn't share my values. Thank you for being a wonderful role model for men. I feel that you will be the catalyst that will get more people (men and women) eating vegetarian or vegan. Like another person wrote, you're my hero too! —Janet Philippsen, Albuquerque, N.M.

It has only been the past two years that I started to feel guilty about my lack of respect for this planet. It happened when I became a first-time pet owner (my cat Buster) and saw the unconditional love that he gave. I started to see animals in a different light and when I found the Humane Society website my life was forever changed. I have not eaten meat in close to a year and while every now and then I do eat fish (it is very rare) I do feel that even though I am only one person I have made a difference. I never talk down to people or try and reprimand them but when asked about my choices I tell them why I have made the decision to stop eating meat, purchasing leather and other animal products and donate to the Humane Society. The Internet is such a powerful tool and just by forwarding the messages given to us on this site to everyone in your contact list is a way to help. It is not realistic to think every person on the planet will become vegetarian BUT it is possible for everyone to become humane and make better choices to stop the suffering of these animals. If they have to die, let it be humane. Let them be able to roam the pastures and breathe fresh air. They deserve that at the very least. Keep writing your local representatives and know what you are putting on your plate every night for your family. —Kimberly Ryan

And many of you were excited about Nigel Barker's new film, "A Sealed Fate?", which follows him and his team as they document the contrasting beauty of the harp seal nursery in Atlantic Canada and the tragedy of the commercial seal hunt that follows:

This spring, when I first heard that Nigel Barker would be involved in the seals, I was overjoyed. Truly, his eye for beauty would be an asset to the HSUS or any organization. I don't doubt that his imagery was heart wrenching in both its beauty and tragedy. Perhaps the right balance is the one that gets people involved without sickening them. After all, half of the people seeing this film will be the "choir" while the others will hopefully turn into new recruits to the cause. Bravo to all involved in this campaign. —Lisa J.

This film is so important! I wish we could make every pro-sealing person watch it. I met Nigel Barker and his lovely family at an event at which I was volunteering and thanked him for the wonderful work he does on behalf of animals. We then spent 10 minutes talking about the HSUS newsletter and all the important animal rights changes you help us make. Thank you! —Michelle Landes

Thanks Nigel for your hard work. I know this seal hunt will end soon. —Anna

Continue reading "Talk Back: In Your Words" »

September 25, 2008

Ellen on Prop 2: "Very Dear to my Heart"

Tomorrow, I'll appear on "Ellen" to talk about Prop 2. Ellen's a great HSUS supporter and a devoted animal advocate, and I am so grateful that she's giving me an opportunity to state the case to her audience about the benefits of Prop 2, also known as the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act—which seeks to stop the severe confinement of veal calves, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens in cages and crates so small that the animals cannot even turn around or stretch their limbs or wings.

Two spotted piglets
© iStockphoto
Gather with friends for tomorrow's "Ellen." See when it airs.

Please tune in on Friday to see the show, and take this opportunity to get involved and spread the word to California to vote YES on 2 on Nov. 4.

There are always voices out there who excuse cruelty, or invoke rationalizations on why the reform on the table should be rejected. As I hear these voices, it reminds me of the arguments of the sealers in Canada, the cockfighters in Louisiana, or the puppy millers in Missouri. They always have their reasons, and they are adept at enlisting people who are in denial about animal cruelty and who support their calls for delay or inaction.

But Prop 2 is a matter of common sense and basic moral intuition. Animals built to move should be allowed to move. Big Agribusiness and its allies will try to obfuscate that point, but I'll be glad for the opportunity to speak directly to the American public about the issue.

If she'll allow me, I'll even dance a little bit.

September 24, 2008

Oprah's Update on Puppy Mills

More enlightenment from Oprah… Now just a few weeks into her new season, this Thursday she’ll provide an update on puppy mills. About the episode her website teases, “Our first show was just the tip of the iceberg…why we need you again.”

A dog and her puppies at a W. Va. puppy mill
© The HSUS/Riley
A mom and her pups await rescue at a W. Va. puppy mill.

You likely haven’t forgotten Oprah’s earlier investigation into the mistreatment of dogs at puppy mills. Originally broadcast in April and then aired again in May, the piece has been one of the most talked-about segments Oprah’s ever produced. And it has clearly brought an unprecedented level of awareness to the abuse dogs endure at these mass-breeding facilities.

Thanks to Oprah, millions more now know the truth behind that puppy in the pet store window or the pups advertised online. The pet traders put a sheen of respectability in their marketing materials, but rub that off and you see the miserable world of puppy mills. They treat the animals like a cash crop, and the breeding animals have it the worst—bred nearly every heat cycle and turned into a reproductive machine. The animals live their entire lives in small cages with no opportunity for exercise, no socialization, and no beneficial human care.

For years The HSUS has been working to bring puppy mills from the shadows to the spotlight and to put them out of business. And in the months since Oprah’s exposé we’ve rescued nearly 700 dogs from a Tennessee puppy mill and nearly 1,000 dogs from a West Virginia mill. We’ve also worked with lawmakers to introduce two bills in Pennsylvania and new federal legislation—the latter dubbed Baby’s Bill in honor of Jana Kohl’s inspirational puppy mill survivor Baby—to crack down on puppy mills.

We’re so grateful to Oprah and her staff for devoting such time and effort to stop the scourge of puppy mills in our nation. Please tune in to this new show and let others know about it, and throughout the piece keep an eye out for footage from The HSUS’s puppy mill investigations and rescue operations.

September 23, 2008

Truth Hounds

While California's Prop 2 has been a frequent subject of my blog posts, there's another important ballot measure slated for a vote this fall. The HSUS is a sponsor of Question 3, the Greyhound Protection Act, in Massachusetts to end greyhound racing.

Two greyhounds
© iStockphoto

Working with coalition partners, like greyhound protection group GREY2K USA and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, we intend to bring our message of common sense and compassion to Bay State voters. It is a fact that at greyhound racetracks thousands of dogs endure lives of terrible confinement, and many suffer serious injury. Since 2002, more than 800 greyhounds have been injured in Massachusetts, including dogs that suffered broken bones, paralysis and death from cardiac arrest.

We have called on dog track owners to join us in a fair debate based on the facts, but they apparently didn’t get the memo. Yesterday they filed a committee to fight Question 3, using a name that mimics ours, in a blatant attempt to confuse voters. But their deception doesn’t end there. They chose a name—the Massachusetts Animal Coalition—that is already used by a local animal protection group that actually supports Question 3.

Just like the factory farms are engaging in scurrilous tactics to defeat Prop 2 in California, the Massachusetts dog tracks don't seem to be letting facts get in the way of their campaign against the measure. Right out of the gate, they are attempting to deceive voters about the state of affairs for dogs. They claimed that Massachusetts dog tracks have a 100 percent adoption rate. The actual adoption rate, according to state records, is only 14 percent.

Watch the Yes on 3 campaign video today, and please get involved in the campaign, especially if you live in Massachusetts or you know voters there. The greyhounds are counting on us.

September 22, 2008

A Calling for Compassion

Our Animals & Religion program recently launched All Creatures Great and Small, a campaign to remind people of faith about our personal and collective responsibilities to all of God's creatures.

The principles of compassion and mercy and other-centeredness are interwoven in the teachings of all of the world's great religions, and here at The HSUS, we are attempting to remind people of these principles and the importance of living them each day.

All animals deserve humane treatment, including animals raised for food. Making ethical food choices is a practical way for people of faith to align their principles with their actions. Religious tradition is filled with examples of ritualizing this act through fasting and feasting—from Kosher to Communion, Ramadan to Halal—so the idea of exhibiting greater attentiveness to food choices and rituals builds on rich religious traditions.

Chicken and chicks
© iStockphoto

The All Creatures Great and Small campaign calls on people for the month of October to pledge to either switch to cage-free eggs or egg substitutes as an act of compassion for farm animals. October includes the celebration of the end of Ramadan, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, and Yom Kippur, holy days that draw our attention to food, animals and compassion. On the campaign website you can take the pledge, pass it along to friends, and also find extensive resources, from short films on food and faith to a booklet series on animals and religion.

Last month, to announce the new campaign, I was joined on a teleconference call with members of the media and religious leaders from various faiths. During the call, Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda, Md. offered these inspiring words:

“Many times each day, our tradition asks us to consider carefully what goes into the food we eat. The laws of keeping kosher are one way in which we do this; another is the series of blessings said over our food, to develop our sense of gratitude and interdependence. But ethical laws too—from the treatment of the animals, to the environmental impact of the process, to the wages of the farm workers (think Postville, Iowa)—play a major role, as well. We should stop to consider what went into our food. We should use our moral willpower to steer clear of the worst, and our economic consumer power to help encourage the best.”

Imam Hagmagid Ali, vice president of the Islamic Society of North America, also commented, “The Quran bids us to treat animals with respect and not to abuse them. It teaches us that animals are communities in their own right, that animals speak and praise God in their own way, and that God provides for their sustenance just as he does for our own. These principles are reinforced by the words ascribed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), to the effect that 'Whoever is kind to the Creatures of God is kind to himself.'"

And, following the call, the renowned author, speaker and pastor, Brian McLaren, expressed his support, "In the beginning, our sacred texts tell us, God created this beautiful creation, including land, sea, and sky teeming with creatures that have been entrusted into human care. Whether through destruction of habitat or inhumane treatment of farm animals, we're failing to uphold that trust. The HSUS seeks to mobilize and motivate compassionate people to show greater respect for the dignity of our fellow creatures in this sacred creation... helping humanity be more humane. This is a mission worth supporting!"

Religious leaders of all denominations and faiths are endorsing the campaign, speaking out and saying yes, this is an issue for the faithful to grapple with, and do something about. And we’re just getting started. We have events at the Washington National Cathedral next weekend and San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral on Oct. 5, and will be premiering our new short film, "Eating Mercifully," that we hope our supporters will show in communities throughout the nation. We just shared the film with 175 religion newswriters this weekend during their annual conference. The HSUS hosted a luncheon for attendees at the National Press Club and I spoke along with the producer and director of the film.

September 19, 2008

Help Us Beat Their Deceit

They treat animals like units of production. They overcrowd them and put our food supply at risk. They pollute the land and water.

“They” are Big Agribusiness, and they have raised and allocated $10 million to defeat a landmark initiative in California that would ease the suffering of millions of animals now confined in tiny crates on factory farms and suffering terribly. It’s called Proposition 2, and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof called it “the most important election you’ve never heard of.”  Indeed, because California is a trendsetter, this election has the potential to establish a better future for farm animals across the U.S.

Because of that, Big Agribusiness is investing millions in deceptive and false ads to disparage Prop 2.

They've been charged with cruelty to animals. Now Big Agribusiness wants to convince you they know what's best.
Photo of a downer cow, taken during a 2007 slaughterhouse investigation.
Donate to the YES! on Prop 2 Campaign

The only thing that can stop them is you and me. We can match them ad for ad and tell our story to the people of California.

That’s why I am urging you to make a special gift today to the YES! on Prop 2 campaign.

If not you and me, then who will stand up to Big Agribusiness?

Just who are these underhanded foes of animals, who on a single day donated nearly $5 million to defeat Proposition 2? They’re Pilgrim’s Pride, chipping in $25,000, where a whistle-blower employee videotaped chickens being stomped and thrown against the wall. They are the United Egg Producers, adding $185,000 to the opposition's pot, fined to settle false advertising complaints. They are Moark LLC, donating more than $504,000 against Prop 2, which paid $100,000 to settle criminal animal cruelty charges. They are Cal-Maine Foods, leading the pack with nearly $600,000 in campaign contributions, cited for spilling chicken parts and manure into waterways and killing tens of thousands of fish. The list goes on…

These are not the kind of farms we read about to our kids before bedtime. This line-up is straight off the crime blotter. Cruelty to animals. Threatening the safety of the food supply. Despoiling the environment. And deceiving consumers.

We need to raise $1 million by the end of the month as part of our offensive to counter their deception and dirty campaign tactics. Please make an emergency gift right now to put television ads on the air to challenge every one of their claims. If just 5 percent of you who read this message make a gift of $20—a symbolic amount to reduce the suffering of 20 million farm animals—we'd reach our $1 million goal today.

Without your help, we will not be able to counter the deceptive claims of an industry that insists on cramming animals into insufferably small cages and crates—to increase density, and thus profits.

The claims made by these companies reveal them for the shameless hucksters they are. Here is their wildly false assertion about Prop 2 straight from their published propaganda:

Undermines animal welfare and food safety in California.

Ha! Remember what the California factory farmers were doing recently for “animal welfare” and “food safety”? They were patting themselves on the back and accepting performance awards for providing healthy food to the National School Lunch Program. Then one of our undercover investigators went into a Southern California slaughter plant. He secretly filmed the torturing of animals—horrors like a fallen cow being smashed in the eyes with a blunt object and another downed cow with a water-hose shoved in her mouth to simulate drowning. He showed plant operators routinely risking the health of children to get these potentially ill “downer” cows on their feet so they could be herded into the processing line for the lunch program.

The industry tried to deny that any such things could happen. But videotape evidence exposed their deceptions and false assurances. The result? The largest meat recall in U.S. history.

The nation was horrified by the abuse of these cows, who were literally minutes away from being killed. If we are concerned about the downer cows—as we should be—then we must also be concerned about the animals suffering in cruel confinement day after day for months or years on factory farms. Here is this remarkable one-time chance to do something about their suffering.

For the sake of creatures who don’t have a voice in this watershed election, please join us in speaking out for them. Make your emergency donation to the YES! on Prop 2 campaign today.

September 18, 2008

Answering the Call

Nearly a week has passed since southeast Texas residents fled from Hurricane Ike. Since Sunday our Emergency Services team has been stationed in Beaumont, Texas (see a map of the area), sheltering animals and conducting rescues in some of the Gulf Coast communities walloped by Ike’s whipping wind and rushing water.

The HSUS rescues a cat in Texas after Hurricane Ike
© The HSUS/Milani
A cat is brought to safety after Ike.

For four days, four teams of HSUS emergency responders and volunteers have been navigating the devastation by truck and boat, combing the area for animals stranded by the storm. They are also responding to calls from distressed guardians who for one reason or another left their pets behind and now worry about their condition.

Our amazingly talented video team has accompanied our animal rescuers on many of their calls, documenting the search and rescue efforts. They prepared this video report from the field, narrated by Emergency Services’ Senior Director Scotlund Haisley, and I hope you enjoy it. I also encourage you to browse our touching photos.

As with any rescue mission, this deployment has had its highs and lows. Letting evacuees know that their pets were located and are safe, and hearing their cries of joy, drives our team. But their spirit wanes as they wade through some of the hardest-hit areas and discover that many of the pets left behind surely perished, swallowed by the storm’s surge.

Knowing that many animals have now gone days without food or water, our team is more determined than ever to get out there and bring even more animals to safety. As the waters continue to recede, our team’s hope and enthusiasm swells. While they feel great about every rescue, they know the best outcome comes when people evacuate with their animals before these storms hit.

September 17, 2008

A Resounding YES! on Prop 2

One inescapable conclusion in studying the Proposition 2 campaign—the ballot initiative to halt the use of small cages to confine veal calves, breeding sows, and laying hens, and to provide them with room to turn around—is the breadth of our support and the narrowness of the opponents' coalition.

Vote YES! on Prop 2 to help stop animal crueltyThere are scant few individuals outside of the factory farming business who financially support the No on 2 campaign. Two-thirds of the $7.5 million poured into their campaign comes from factory farms outside of California, and almost all of their money comes from companies confining hens in barren battery cage systems. The veal industry and the hog industry have given token opposition and financial support to the No on 2 campaign, largely because these industries seem to recognize that change within their industries is inevitable and already embraced by many of its leaders. Why use finite resources on costly and difficult political fights when they can begin investing money in more humane housing systems?

Contrast that with the YES! on Prop 2 campaign. There were 4,000 people, representing all 58 counties, who devoted dozens or hundreds of hours to collect signatures to put the measure on the ballot. There are thousands of donors to the campaign, with the preponderance of them coming from California.

Vote YES! on Prop 2 to protect our air and waterAnd in terms of endorsers, the YES! on Prop 2 campaign rules the roost. We have the leading humane organizations, including The HSUS, the ASPCA, Farm Sanctuary, and the California State Humane Association. We have the state's leading and largest and oldest veterinary group, the California Veterinary Medical Association, while the opponents were forced to create a new veterinary group, the Association of California Veterinarians, after they failed to win over the CVMA.

All of the leading environmental organizations that have weighed in side with YES! on Prop 2, including the Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, and Defenders of Wildlife, because they know that factory farms pollute air and water. Even though the No on 2 campaign brands itself Californians for Safe Food, they don't have any credible food safety organizations on their side, while we have the Center for Food Safety, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest backing Proposition 2.

Vote YES! on Prop 2 to support family farmersThe opponents claim they are fighting for consumers, but where are their consumers? The powerful Consumer Federation of America stands with us. And while the No on 2 campaign has the factory farmers and agribusiness groups like the California Farm Bureau, we have more than 100 California family farms that have endorsed Proposition 2, along with family farming organizations such as Family Farm Defenders and the leading farm union organization, the United Farm Workers.

The Yes on 2 campaign also has a raft of religious leaders from the entire spectrum, from Rabbis and Evangelical leaders to Protestant Bishops and presidents of seminaries and the National Catholic Rural Life Conference. Many statewide elected officials including U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein have endorsed, along with School Superintendent Jack O'Connell, Treasurer and former Attorney General Bill Lockyer. We have Latino leaders like Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and State Sen. Dean Florez (Bakersfield), and African American leaders including Congresswomen Maxine Waters (Los Angeles) and Barbara Lee (Oakland). Just yesterday, Democratic U.S. Rep. Bob Filner (San Diego) and Republican Congressmen John Campbell (Orange County) and Elton Gallegly (Ventura) wrote a letter to other members of the California Congressional Delegation urging support for the measure.

Vote YES! on Prop 2 to improve our health and food safety Last week, the Santa Barbara News-Press endorsed Proposition 2. And earlier this week, the San Diego Union Tribune, whose editorial board has a decidedly conservative bent, endorsed Proposition 2, knocking down the false and deceptive arguments of opponents on the effects that Proposition 2 will have on food safety, the price of eggs, and the factory farmers' ability to compete if they can no longer use particularly inhumane confinement systems.

The Union Tribune had it just right: "In the end, Proposition 2 is about the basic humane treatment of animals, even those raised for food."

Big money and small cages only get you so far. Our grassroots campaign is poised to compete for votes in every county in the state with every constituency, and that's just what we are doing every day.