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An estimated nine billion farm animals are raised and killed for food every year in the United States. While consumers might like to believe that the animals they consume come from “happy” farms, where they spend their days grazing in idyllic fields up until they have “one bad day” at the slaughterhouse, due to our insatiable desire for cheap meat and dairy, this version of animal agriculture is virtually non-existent in the U.S. The reality is 99 percent of animals are raised in factory farms.

That means a large majority of those nine billion animals will spend their short lives crammed in small, filthy spaces, surrounded by waste and other stressed, sick animals. Most will never know what it feels like to relax, let alone be able to breathe fresh air, feel grass, or experience sunshine.

Thankfully, with the help of undercover investigations and the ability to share information quickly across the internet, more people are learning about what life is like for animals on factory farms and, unsurprisingly, they don’t like it. A recent study showed that 4 out of 5 Americans opposed cruel factory farming methods, which is great … but again, reality sets in when you remember that 99 percent of animals raised for food in the U.S. live in these cruel conditions that people oppose.

This is something that Josh Balk, Vice President of Farm Animal Protection for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), wants to see changed. As Josh explains in a recent episode of the #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias podcast, unfortunately, due to consumer demand for meat and dairy, animal agriculture as we know it isn’t going anywhere soon, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help to improve the lives of animals on factory farms here and now. 

Right now, Josh is campaigning to help pass Proposition 12 in California, a historic piece of animal welfare legislation that would not only do away with the most harmful types of farming practices, such as gestation crates for female pigs, veal crates for calves, and battery cages for egg-laying hens, but it would also prohibit the sale of products from operators that still use them throughout California. Essentially, this would mean that if any company wanted to sell animal products in the state, they would have to update their own farms to be in line with these new regulations. Seeing as the state is considered the world’s fifth largest economy, Josh sees this as one of the most transformative laws for farmed animals to date. 

Prop 12 is going up for vote in early October, so if you are a California resident, you can learn more about it here. Even if you don’t live in California, you can help support HSUS, along with Mercy for Animals, Animal Equality, ALDF, and dozens more organizations in their campaign by clicking here.

Josh has worked undercover in factory farms and seen the true depths of humanity’s horrible treatment of farmed animals, but through it all, he has remained hopeful and optimistic that we can effect real change for animals and steer the future towards one without industrial animal agriculture. To hear more about Josh’s inspiring career in animal activism and more about how you can get involved, be sure to listen in to the full episode!

You can listen to the full episode below or on the following platforms: iTunesSpotify, Google Play, and Stitcher.


If you like this episode, be sure to subscribe to the #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias podcast for new episodes with food industry leaders, health, and sustainability experts, as well as entrepreneurs and creative minds who are redefining the future of food – and order your copy of the #EatForThePlanet book!

Image source:  krumanop/Shutterstock

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0 comments on “Here’s How YOU Can Help Enact the Most Historic and Impactful Law for Farm Animals in the World”

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Mary A
25 Days ago

The same group that said California hens would be cage free by 2015, that Michael Vick would be a “good pet owner,” that embraces SeaWorld, and lost millions of dollars in a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act lawsuit, is back.
HSUS is again promising to ban egg-industry cages, even though it spent the last decade claiming that it already did!

And, as demonstrated by the sleazy comment by "JillinaL" they’re attacking whistle-blowers, When women mobilized against the toxic culture at HSUS, it stemmed from multiple allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against Proposition 12’s chief architect, now former CEO, Wayne Pacelle. HSUS’s response was to question the women’s integrity.
That tactic is now being used against conscientious animal advocates opposed to Proposition 12.
The inescapable reality is this: If not for HSUS’s malpractice, California hens would be cage-free at this very moment. Let’s not fall for the same trick -- twice. Vote NO on Prop 12.

Jill L
25 Days ago

It is not surprising to see the HFA spreading their usual false claims. The so-called “Humane Farming Association” is actually supported by animal fighting fanatics and has never passed any legislation relating to the confinement of farm animals. They are one of only three groups including the egg and pork industries that testified against the ballot measure at the state legislature. That speaks volumes about their true intentions. The HFA is absolutely wrong that Prop 12 will legalize battery cages in California; the ballot measure specifically bans anything other than cage-free housing systems. The California egg industry is one of the leaders in opposing Prop 12, so it is bizarre for HFA to claim that they co-wrote what could become the strongest law protecting farm animals from extreme confinement in the world. You can read more about HFA’s misinformation at https://preventcrueltyca.com/responses.

Because of my personal experience with veganism, I can understand the argument that pushing for a change in diet is the way to achieve the greatest change the welfare of farm animals. But the reality is, right now there are millions of farm animals suffering in tiny, filthy cages and, sadly, industrial factory farming is not going away overnight. I do think regardless of whether you’re a carnivore, vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian, etc., we can all agree that animals shouldn’t be kept in cages so small they can barely move. This is the kind of extreme confinement that Prop 12 seeks to remedy. If passed, it would trigger a shift toward cage-free housing and ensure that baby cows, mother pigs and egg-laying hens have enough space to turn around and extend their limbs in a cage-free environment. This bill may not be perfect, but progress begets more progress and I believe Prop 12 is a step in the right direction. There are dozens of animal protection organizations - from national entities like the HSUS and ASPCA to local groups like the Palo Alto Humane Society - that also believe in this ballot initiative and strongly endorse a Yes! vote on Prop 12. Check out the wide range of support for Prop 12 here - https://preventcrueltyca.com/endorsements.

Ruth Eisenbud
25 Days ago

History repeats itself... especially in a judeo.christian nation, especially for animals... We are told the most horrific abuses of farming are being mitigated with laws inspired by judeo.christian dominion:

Genesis 9:1-3 “The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.”

In other words laws granting farm animals illusory improvements in their lives will be for their good. This sounds so humane, so benevolent, but consider that the most harmful abuse of all: SLAUGHTER is not up for negotiation. That would violate all that is held dear by the inheritors of genesis: human supremacy & with it the right to exploit, violate, slaughter and destroy animal lives with moral impunity... This cynical gesture of compassion will actually result in more slaughter, as the the sad lives of animals destined for slaughter, will now be viewed as happier. The sale of humane meat will escalate, as those who must have animal flesh & blood, will now have the moral high ground of humane meat. If only it worked that way. Instead there will be more suffering than ever, as was the result for veal calves in England:

The data bears out the outcome for welfare patches applied to gloss over the inherent cruelty of slaughter. In a recent case in the UK, where a little more space for veal calves led to a 45% increase in the sale of veal:

\'Nine days after the program aired, Waitrose reported a 45 percent increase in veal sales.\'
October 2006
Editorial: Brave New Veal: Something Wicked This Way Comes
By Catherine Clyne, SATYA Magazine

W Greene
26 Days ago

Beware: Proposition 12 is an outright scam.

There is widespread opposition to Prop 12 from within the animal protection community. And for very good reason. This measure was co-written by United Egg Producers and would explicitly legalize cruel battery cages in California until at least 2022. And it would forever confine hens inside massive factory farms that restrict hens to only one square foot floor space per bird!

No one should fall for HSUS\'s bogus claims that this it will regulate the sale and production of veal and pork from other states. That cynical and constitutionally flawed window dressing will never survive the inevitable years of legal challenges. It was only inserted into the initiative to distract from its massive sell-out to the egg industry.

Find out why Californians Against Cruelty, Cages, and Fraud, the Humane Farming Association (HFA), Friends of Animals (FoA), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and many others are strongly opposing the measure.
Please visit NoOnProposition12.org

26 Days ago

Industrial farming a/k/a factory farming is the traditional "family farm" of old on super-steroids. If we wonder where factory farming comes from – the mentality and brutality of it -- think "traditional" farming. Some background: About 8,000 B.C. the first agriculture started in the ancient Middle East. Very slowly at first, farming began to replace foraging throughout the ancient world. Gradually, as population, cities, and human demands swelled, farming intensified — that is, farmers increased their control over animals and nature. As they did so, they had to tear down the very old beliefs in the sanctity and ensouled powers of the living world. In their place, farming societies built the myth of human supremacy and with it the idea of the need to dominate the living world. In time, values on domination, control, and hierarchy became ingrained in agrarian culture and the agrarian worldview became the modern worldview. -- from Jim Mason, "An Unnatural Order"

Over half of Americans believe farmed animals are treated humanely. Their answers suggest that lack of knowledge about factory farming, at least as much as selfishness, underlie the contradiction between how people profess to feel about animals and how they treat animals.

Don\'t support more deadly hurricane deaths of millions of farmed animals: GO VEGAN for the animals\' sake!


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