I think I've always been a little bit jealous of Californians. It seemed to me that all the good ideas re animal welfare and vegetarianism was coming from them.
Of course, I applaud them for this, but am disappointed that Midwesterners never seem to come up with any novel and compassionate ideas in this regard.
However, after receiving the Humane Activist this past week and reading President Michael Markarian's letter in praise of California, I now truly wish them - without any reservations - the very best. The people of California have consistently stepped up to the plate for the animals.
I know that they are hurting financially now - perhaps more than many other states, so it is my fervent wish and prayer that by some miracle - they will come out of this financial fix soon and prosper once again. We need them to show us the way!
President Markarian noted that California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 2 last November. This bill's intent is to ban the inhumane confinement of animals on industrial factory farms. This certainly gave a tremendous boost to the idea that we should not tolerate cruelty to our farm animals, which sadly not too many Americans were even aware of - despite the efforts of animal right groups like HSUS, Humane Farming, and Farm Sanctuary to name 3.
Californians have been leaders on the humane animal front before, but in the words of Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, D, "Prop 2 was "the equivalent of the earthquake that shook the legislature" - showing lawmakers the overwhelming support for animal welfare policies among the electorate.
Because of the support of the people -Sen. Florez reorganized the Senate Agriculture Committee to become the Senate Committee on Food and Agriculture-thereby placing greater emphasis on food safety, ANIMAL WELFARE, and
They have won my admiration for this and the other points made by Pres. Markarian because, as he noted "The vote is having ripple effects around the country, as retailers adopt policies to curb factory farm abuses and other states
consider similar reforms (Maine recently became the sixth state to phase out confinement practices)."
California lawmakers have also been busy since, and here are the bills they have introduced recently:
Assembly member Jared Huffman, D, introduced a bill to increase penalties for the illegal poaching of wildlife.
Asemblymember Pedro Nava, D, has introduced bills to crack down on puppy mills, dogfighting, and animal cruelty.
Sen.Ron Calderon, D, has also introduced a bill to crack down on dogfighters.
Assembly member Cameron Smyth, R, has introduced a bill to give a tax break to people who adopt shelter pets as well as a successful bill to officially recognize Spay Day USA and encourage the spaying and neutering of pets.
As Pres. Markarian concludes: "Animal protection is on the political map in the Golden State: Lawmakers are siding with pets, wildlife, and farm animals by wide margins and reflecting the mainstream values of Californians who want strong laws to stop cruelty and abuse."
Thanks, Californians. Indeed I hope many more states will follow your compassionate lead. And may you soon return to prosperous days because you deserve them.