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]


Legislative proposal

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.[3]

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.[3]

The full text of the proposed legislative bill can be read here. Gov. Chris Gregoire signed SB 5487 on May 10, 2011.[4]


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.[5][6]

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."[3][7]


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.[8]

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. According to reports on June 13, 2011 supporters announced that they had exceeded the minimum requirement. An estimated 275,000 signatures have thus far been collected. However, the Secretary of State's office recommends that initiative campaigns collect at least 320,000 signatures to compensate for any duplicates or errors. With that in mind, the campaign reportedly will continue to circulate petitions.[9]

Paul Shapiro, senior director of The Humane Society of the United States Factory Farming Campaign, had previously announced that signatures would be gathered by volunteers. However, as of June Shapiro reports that the petition circulation effort is a combination of paid circulators and volunteers. According to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission, the campaign has hired PCI Consultants, Inc. from California. June reports indicate that a total of $332,504 was paid to the company.[9]

See also

Suggest a link

Similar measures

External links


Additional reading