November 7, 2018

California Prop 12 Likely to Have Little Effect on Dairy, Beef Industries

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 12, which establishes minimum space requirements for veal calves, breeding pigs and egg-laying chickens starting in 2020.


The required minimum space for veal is 43 square feet. The sale of veal from facilities not meeting this minimum requirement will be banned. (The minimum space requirement for a breeding pig is 24 square feet, and for egg layers, one square foot.)


The thing is, though, little if any veal is actually raised in California. Virtually all male dairy calves are fed out as mature beef, says Cassandra Tucker, an animal welfare specialist with the University of California—Davis. “About 25% of California’s fed beef is Holstein,” she notes. And with the use of sexed semen, the number of male calves has also been reduced over recent years as well, she says.


More than 60% of those voting in California yesterday approved Prop 12. It’s the second time in the last decade that California voters have passed an animal welfare initiative. Prop 2, passed in 2008, required farmers to provide enough space for animals to stand, turn around and extend their limbs. But it had no space requirements, and it did not ban the sale of veal, pork or eggs.