Arizona Republic Opinions- Arizona truly made a difference
- This is an outstanding article in today's Arizona Republic highlighting the recent 204 victory and the effect it is having nationwide.
Arizona voters truly made difference
In the Chinese zodiac, 2007 is the Year of the Pig, which is
America's largest pork producer has announced it will no longer
confine pregnant pigs in crates so small the animal cannot turn
around. You probably remember these "gestation stalls." Use of such
cruel and inhumane enclosures was banned in Arizona when voters
approved Proposition 204 this past November.
There was quite a campaign to discredit the proposition and
characterize it as the product of vegans gone wild.
The hog industry, opponents of the ban claimed, would go out of
business if they couldn't use gestation crates.
But voters didn't buy that. The vote wasn't even close. Sixty-two
percent said to ban the crates.
Before the campaign, most people didn't even know about how factory-
farmed animals live. When they were made aware of what was going on,
people wanted it stopped. Arizonans recognize the responsibility that
comes from having power over other living things.
Arizona was the second state to ban confining pregnant animals to
these tiny stalls. Florida did it in 2002. The Humane Society of the
United States was considering taking the campaign to other states.
The pork industry was paying attention.
In announcing a 10-year phase-out of gestation stalls, C. Larry Pope,
chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods Inc., said, "Working with
our customers, who have made their views known on the issue of
gestation stalls, we are pleased to be taking this precedent-setting
step." Customers told them "they feel group housing is a more animal-
friendly form of sow housing," he said.
Smithfield doesn't have a hog-raising facility in Arizona, but the
Virginia-based company owns 187 sow farms in eight states.
Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said
Arizona's vote was a "major factor" in the Smithfield decision.
Of course it was. Industry responds to public pressure, and the
public's feeling on this issue was clearly stated.
This makes speaking up look like a remarkably appropriate thing to