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Washington Farm Animal Cruelty Prevention, Initiative 1130 (2011)

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The Washington Farm Animal Cruelty Prevention, Initiative 1130, may appear on the November 2011 statewide ballot in Washington as an Initiative to the People. The measure would adopt new rules for egg-laying hens in Washington.[1] More specifically, the measure would require "egg-laying hens have enough room to turn around and extend their wings and that eggs sold in the state are produced incompliance with this humane standard."[2]

A total of three initiatives have been filed: 1128, 1129 and 1130.

The Washington proposal is similar to laws in California and Michigan which restrict cages for calves.[2]

Support

The measure is supported by the Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary. The coalition, according to reports, is called Washingtonians for Humane Farms.[3][4]

In regard to an alternative legislative proposal, Senate Bill 5487, Farm Sanctuary president Gene Baur said, "The animals are still confined in cages, they're not given very good dust baths, and their freedom of movement is still very much restrained."[5]

Opposition

In early April 2011 the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association announced that they do not support the proposed measure. Instead the organization has announced it's support for Senate Bill 5487, which would establish a certification program for commercial egg laying chicken operations. "In our opinion, only the pending legislation in SB 5487 offers a consistent structure to improve hen welfare and an annual audit plan for verification of compliance and that's why we back it. We could have left it there and not offered an opinion on I-1130 except the initiative offers no plan for audit, no clear scientific standards or structure specifically researched to improve the lives of laying hens, and no additional empowerments for enforcement," said the organization in an April 2011 press release.[6]

Path to the ballot

See also: Washington signature requirements

In order to qualify for the ballot, supporters are required to submit a minimum of 241,153 valid signatures.

See also

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References