Prop 2 and a Divided California


Today’s New York Times includes this article about a renewal of interest in a division of California into two states – coastal counties in one and inland counties in another. According to the Times article, this latest iteration of the state subdivision movement arises out of farmers’ angry responses to Proposition 2, a state ballot initiative passed by California voters in 2008.  Here’s how the Times describes Prop 2 (here):

Proposition 2 . . . banned tight confinement of egg-laying hens, veal calves and sows.  While many food activists and politicians in the state hailed the vote as proof of consumers’ increasing interest in where their food comes from, the proposition’s passage has angry farmers and their allies wanting to put the issue of succession to a vote, perhaps as soon as 2012.

The farmers interviewed for the article represent just some “farmers’ perspectives.” In pitting “farmers” against “food activists and politicians,” the story leaves out growers interested in organic farming and locally grown products.  There are farmers who want to reduce animal suffering.  The National Black Farmers Association, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Family Farm Defenders, and Farm Forward all supported Prop 2.  The Times story got sensationalists quotes (one farmer describes supporters of Prop 2 as “think[ing] fish are more important than people, that pigs are treated mean and chickens should run loose”), but the Times didn’t tell the whole story.  That’s because quotes from people who think that “chickens should run loose” don’t play into the historic (and romantic) American archetypes of the pioneer-farmer.

— Bridget Crawford

7 Responses

  1. Meanwhile back on Earth, or at least in the Constitutional Republic called the U.S.A., secession is a chimera that attracts the ignorant or those who simply like to stir the pot of discontent without addressing real issues. We dealt very effectively with secession in 1861-65 and in the unlikely event it truly raises its head again, we will pull our troops from foreign climes and suppress rebellion.

    As to the “pioneer-farmer,” these men and women were a hardy bunch, in the early period threatened with physical extinction and later with smothering by both government regulation and the metastatic growth of agribusiness. They would never let their chickens run loose. Lordy, there were chicken thieves everywhere!

  2. […] BMT added an interesting post on Prop 2 and a Divided CaliforniaHere’s a small excerptToday’s New York Times includes this article about a renewal of interest in a division of California into two states – coastal counties in one […]

  3. Are you people nuts? They are food. I can see giving them a little more breathing space but making them all free range will drive up the cost of eggs for everyone. Hello? Is any one there? There is a recession on right now. Everyone has to cut costs and you are increasing them.
    Costco egg prices last weekend: Cage Free: $4.39 a dozen. Standard eggs: $1.69 a dozen. Don’t you have anything better to do? Maybe you should look for a real job.

  4. From what I can tell, the commenter feels that it is just too darn expensive not to torture laying hens and that a different occupation might help those of us who disagree to understand that. All I can say is that I’ve had a number of jobs and so far, no luck.

  5. I am gladly paying $4.39 a dozen for the cage free eggs and I live within a tight budget like everyone else right now…it is all about priorities. Some people spend their money on designer glasses but find cage free eggs expensive. I also want to add that we are not nuts, there is alot of people that think that it is not okay to torture animals for our economical benefit.

  6. If i gave you a bazillion dollars to put someone in atiny cage all their life, would u do it?

  7. and I’ve been on the look out for such information.

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