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May 15, 2009

Maine-stream

I’ve always believed that progress tends to beget progress, and that we are now seeing a series of tangible reforms flowing from our landslide victory in California on Proposition 2 last November. In addition to a growing number of California retailers switching away from battery cage eggs to cage-free eggs in the wake of Prop 2’s passage, we’ve also seen important advances on the other side of the country in recent months.

Pig in gestation crate
© USDA

For example, Massachusetts-based national egg producer Radlo Foods announced that it would phase out its use of battery cages altogether and become a completely cage-free company.

And this week, Maine Governor John Baldacci signed our bill to ban both veal crates and gestation crates in his state, after the legislature passed it unanimously. The HSUS worked hard to pass the bill, and we commend both the governor for signing it and state Sen. John Nutting (D-Androscoggin County) for championing it.

I remember when Floridians favored an HSUS-authored initiative in 2002 to make that state the first in the nation to prohibit gestation crates. Until we finally broke through with the Florida win, the treatment of animals on factory farms had been a mere footnote in serious public policy debates surrounding animal welfare, and no laws existed to halt the life-long confinement of animals in small cages or crates on factory farms.

Yet here we are in 2009 with six states now having acted to prevent certain kinds of extreme confinement of farm animals, and there is an aura of inevitable progress.   

Our hard work is paying off, even if progress was imperceptible for years. The HSUS is built around the idea of making tangible gains for animals, and the care of farm animals is a major element of the equation.

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