Current initiatives don't go far enough to protect animals or guard food safety, HSUS said.
WASHINGTON – A coalition of animal welfare organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), has launched a ballot initiative that establishes “a bright-line legal standard” forbidding cage confinement.

The new measure will:

  • Establish that eggs produced and sold in California must come from birds given 1 sq. ft. of space each within one year of enactment, subsequently explicitly require that all birds must live in cage-free systems by Dec. 31, 2021.
  • Require that pork sold in California come from farms that don’t lock pigs in gestation crates by Dec.  31, 2021.
  • Require that veal sold in California come from farms that don’t lock calves in veal crates by Dec.  31, 2019.


The coalition will begin the task of gathering the 365,880 signatures required — within 180 days — for placement on the statewide ballot in November 2018 after the California Secretary of State issues a ballot title and summary, HSUS said.

“Californians know that locking farm animals in tight cages for the duration of their lives is cruel and compromises food safety,” Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement. “All animals deserve humane treatment, especially those raised for food.”

HSUS argued that current laws don’t go far enough to ensure the welfare of farm animals. For example, the group contends that much of the pork sold in California is sourced from sows confined in gestation crates. Also, veal from crated calves is still sold in the state, many California egg producers kept their cage systems and reduced stocking densities to give birds more space.

The new initiative will prohibit sales of products derived from such confinement.

Other members of the coalition include the Center for Food Safety, San Francisco SPCA, San Diego Humane Society, Marin Humane Society, ASPCA, Mercy For Animals, The Humane League, Compassion in World Farming, Animal Equality, The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, Compassion Over Killing, and the Animal Protection and Rescue League.