Here's a scan of the leaflet I passed out at the farmer's market yesterday. It was my first leaf-letting experience. I was scared about how people would react, but at a Prop 2 gathering I attended one of the speakers said to think about how you weren't campaigning for yourself, but for the animals, and that thought definitely helped me feel brave enough to spread the message. And fortunately, pretty much the worst thing anyone did to me was ignore me. Lots of people seems to really applaud what I was doing, and that felt good.
I've been studying the opposition's Web site a bit (the group calls itself SAFE: Safe and Affordable Fresh Eggs) and the deceptions there are pretty boggling. Most campaign materials for anything or anyone (at best) stretch or "garnish" the truth . . . I'll admit even the sides I'm on do that (Sarah Palin didn't try to coerce the Wasilla librarian into censoring that list of books, and she isn't trying to stop evolution from being taught in schools. Don't worry, I still don't want her in the White House).
But for a group like this to claim that they have the animals' best interests at heart is just - - - well, doesn't the slightest grain of truth matter to them? If they want to claim that Prop 2 will raise egg prices, fine. Perhaps they will go up by fractions of pennies, but IHMO the easing of lifetimes of suffering is well worth that. They want to argue that outdoor access for chickens puts them in contact with wild birds and increases risk of avian flu? Okay, but, while I could stop at pointing out that Prop 2 would phase out the use of battery cages by 2015 but doesn't mandate outdoor access, I also hardly think cramming chickens in cages so small and so close together that they are forced to defecate on each other sends a reassuring message about the priority factory farms place on public health.
Of all the "No on 2" arguments, though, the one that really gets me is that theirs is a coalition that cares about animal welfare. They might actually believe their other arguments, but I can't imagine they could believe this claim. Case in point: the No on 2 Web site lists the groups that support under different categories, one of which is "ANIMAL WELFARE INTERESTS & VETERINARY SERVICES." There aren't many groups under that heading (unsurprisingly, there are far more vets and welfare groups listed on the Yes on 2 site), but I checked out the Web sites of the groups that are, and here's a typical example:
Sportsmen’s & Animal Owner’s Voting Alliance, which describes itself as "a nationwide, nonpartisan group of volunteers seeking to elect politicians who will oppose the 'Animal Rightist' (AR) threat to our rights as Americans." It uses the term "Animal Rightist" and the abbreviation "AR" so often throughout its site it starts to seem like a twisted slur, and it lists politicians in all 50 states who support pro-animal legislation as problems. This is an animal welfare interest group how?
Also, I invite someone from the No on 2 campaign to tell me exactly how many of the businesses listed under the "FAMILY FARMS & BUSINESSES" category are actually family farms. I do recognize quite a few names under that heading as belonging to factory farms - names I recognize from past animal cruelty investigations.
I don't see anything extreme about ensuring that living, breathing creatures can live their lives with enough space to turn around. Happily, I think the majority of Californians will agree with me on Nov. 4. But that doesn't mean these dishonest tactics don't upset me, not when how we treat our fellow earthlings is at stake.
Maybe Wayne Pacelle of the HSUS makes it clearer than I am right now: