- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
The debate over Proposition 2 is beginning to heat up. The proposition, which will appear on the November ballot, was designed to regulate treatment of farm animals. So far, voters seem to be in favor of the idea. According to a story in today's San Jose Mercury-News, a field poll found that two-thirds of California voters will mark their ballots in favor of the initiative.
Among other things, Prop 2 would end the common practice of housing egg-laying hens in cages in California starting in 2015. A new study released today by the UC Agricultural Issues Center found that nearly all of the $330 million
The UC research study concludes that non-cage production costs are so much higher than the costs of the cage systems, it would prevent California producers from competing with eggs produced in other states, which will not be required to follow the new regulations. A news release by ANR's Pam Kan-Rice about the AIC study was distributed to the media today. The release says the study was funded by the University of California, but it seems there may be some misinformation in the media about that point.
An article in the Fresno Bee last May said scientists at UC Davis and other institutions received $400,000 from the American Egg Board to study the use of cages for egg-laying chickens.
Freelance writer Don Curlee expressed outrage in his column about the proposition, which ran in various newspapers including the Visalia Times-Delta today. He wrote that the initiative was placed on the ballot by a "compact of kook-fringe animal rights advocates."
At least one reader took exception. "I'll be glad to pay extra at the supermarket, I already do for cage-free eggs and dairy-free products. But tsk, tsk, poor ag-lobbyist/publicist Mr. Curlee -- the only member of the 'kook-fringe' I see here," the reader wrote in the newspaper's online comments section.
It will be interesting to see following the November election who winds up with egg on their faces./st1:state>
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Following a long holiday weekend, there are a few ANR news stories to catch up on:
Last week, the Sacramento Bee ran an article about a price increase for another food commodity: eggs. The story, written by Jim Downing, says wholesale egg prices have shot up 27 percent since mid-May.
The story quoted UC Davis Cooperative Extension specialist emeritus Don Bell. He told the reporter that a sizable shipment of eggs last month to Japan and Iraq apparently tightened domestic supplies, driving prices up.
The Sacramento Bee today ran a story about a side effect of this year's dry spring: numerous dry fox tail weeds. The article, written by Blair Anthony Robertson, says barbed, missle-shaped, waxy tips of wild grass are annoying to humans, and dangerous to animals.
UC Davis Cooperative Extension veterinarian John Maas commented in the article about the fox tails' hazard to cattle.
"Oh, man, they are the bane of our existence," he is quoted. "The cattle have fur around their face and eyes, and they get those darn foxtails around their eyes. Oftentimes, they get into their eyes. It can cause quite a bit of damage. It can cause blindness."
Finally, a column by Ramona Frances for the Madera Tribune lamented society's lack of respect for farmers. She was commenting on an article in Grower Magazine by Vicky Boyd that suggested the baby boomer and previous generations more often than not considered farmers hard workers and essential contributors, but the younger generations do not share those attitudes. (The Tribune column cited the Grower commentary, but I couldn't find it on the Web site.)
Frances included perspective from Madera County UCCE director Neil McDougald. According to the article, he believes everyone in agriculture has a responsibility to educate others about it.
"The 4-H program we have right now is one that reaches out to youth in all generations," he is quoted.