Dr. Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns appeared on a recent Go Vegan Radio Show (Feb 12th, 2012) to talk about the so-called “rotten egg bill” known as HR 3798. The show is a testament to the naivety of supporters of the messy business of animal welfare who always appear to hope for the best and end up with the worst of scenarios.
In this case, the assumed and claimed “promise” of Proposition 2 – cage-free facilities and the “banning” of the battery cage – has been betrayed and, instead, a system of enriched cages and enriched colonies will be introduced. Karen Davis explained that she herself had given a guarded welcome to Proposition 2 (which should be enacted in 2015) while Bob Linden said he always thought little would come of it.
One of the features that led animal advocates to believe that Proposition 2 – which was entitled “the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act” – would necessarily result in the provision of cage-free facilities was the stipulation that hens must be able to spread their limbs, turn around, and sit down not touching either other hens or the sides of a cage or enclosure. It turns out, however, that this provision is not intended to apply to all the birds at the same time – rather, it may simply apply to one bird at a time - and they may therefore have to “take turns” to stretch and move. This seemed to shock Davis – the sneakiness of it – although Proposition 2 never actually stated that cages would be banned, it was just assumed that this would be the result.
However, these sorts of claims have been a feature of the claims-making of the battery hen industry in Britain for years. For example, when animal advocates complained that birds in what we now seem to be compelled to call conventional battery cages could not stretch either their wings or legs, industry spokespersons would suggest that they could indeed stretch - one limb at a time, and by adjusting their position inside the cage in order to do so.
This, of course, is the language of the exploiter and the abuser, for it is attempting to justify a totally oppressive system, one which Proposition 2, like all messy welfare measures, is designed to tidy up.
A Sociological Exploration of Speciesism.