We decided not to comment on this one before now because it seemed to be a battle of the experts and we did not have the resources to sort it out. California voters have now spoken and by a 63-36 percent margin, they’ve said the calves, pigs and chickens will get new housing by 2015.

Passage of California’s Proposition 2 ” will prohibit the confinement of certain farm animals in structures or cages that do not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs. The measure will phase out California’s use of battery cages for layers, veal crates, and sow gestation crates,” according to Pork Magazine.

Cattle Network says ” Florida, Arizona, Colorado and Oregon have passed similar laws for swine and veal. California, however, becomes the first state to require that all egg-producing chickens be kept in more spacious enclosures or free to roam a henhouse. Most pig and veal farmers in the state have already expanded their pen sizes. As a result, the law’s requirements will have the most significant impact on poultry farmers.”

Will the change mean more salmonella in California if egg production is shifted elsewhere?  Does open air space like some Chinese bird market bring with it risks of bird flu in the Golden State?  It went back and forth in the campaign.  Farm Sanctuary, the sponsoring group out of Washington, D.C., produced a study that found the existing battery cage operations are 20 times more like to be contaminated with Salmonella than cage-free facilities.

One thing upon which everyone agrees: what happens in California won’t stay there!