Washington Farm Animal Cruelty Prevention, Initiative 1130 (2011)
A similar proposal, SB 5487, to Initiative 1130 was filed during the 2011 legislative session by Sen. Mark Schoesler. According to reports, the main differences between the bill and the proposed initiative relate to minimum space requirements and the effective start date. The legislative proposal requires that egg producers phase out conventional cages by 2026. Producers would be allowed to house hens in "enriched colony cages" certified by the American Humane Association. According to reports, the cages would provide 116.3 square inches of space per hen compared to the current 67 square inches of space.
The initiative, on the other hand, requires that proposed changes be completed by 2018. Such changes include a cage of at least 216 square inches of space. Stacking of cages would also be prohibited.
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."
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.
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.
- Proposed initiatives filed in 2011
- Initiative text (1128)
- Initiative text (1129)
- Initiative text (1130)
- Washington Secretary of State,"Initiative Measure No. 1130," retrieved January 28, 2011
- The Spokesman Review,"A chicken & egg initiative," January 19, 2011
- The Seattle Times,"Bigger hen cages not enough, say foes of bill," April 15, 2011
- Associated Press,"Humane Society wants to ban cages for Wash. hens," January 19, 2011
- The Bellingham Herald,"Kindness-for-hens initiative is filed," January 19, 2011
- Washington State Veterinary Medical Association,"Veterinary Association Rejects Supporting Hen Cage Ban Initiative," April 5, 2011