Nov. 14 2018 08:50 AM

Proposition 12 passed in California, placing more restrictions on poultry, swine, and veal producers and limiting import options.

California has done it again! You’re welcome!

I say that sarcastically, as our state has passed another anti-animal agriculture law. Prop 12 was beautifully advertised as a “farmer backed” proposition that everyone was behind. The commercials were so convincing that even some farmers had to think twice. But the people behind the advertisements lied.

Prop 12 was summarized in the California’s voters’ guide and described as follows: “Establishes minimum requirements for confining certain farm animals. Prohibits sales of meat and egg products from animals confined in a noncomplying manner.”

The true definition: Once again, chicken farmers have to unnecessarily expand facilities or reduce bird numbers, pork producers cannot use farrowing pens to prevent the mother from crushing her piglets, and veal crates (similar to calf hutches) now have even larger minimum requirements than before. In addition, there can be no imports of chicken, eggs, veal, or pork into California unless it has been verified that the product has been raised in line with Prop 12’s requirements.

The real kicker is who was raising the biggest fight against this proposition. It was an even more extreme activist group than the ones that wrote Prop 12. They claimed it did not go far enough! Sadly, we did not have one agricultural group stand up for these egg, swine, and veal farmers.

This is getting really old, friends. We as an agricultural community out number, hold more equity, own more land in the U.S., and have more drive than any of these “animal rights” activists combined. But somehow, this tick-riddled-tail is wagging the dog! How is it that we as an agricultural community cannot come together and fight illogical laws and regulations like this?

Is it pride? Is it self-preservation? Whatever it is needs to be tossed aside.

I have been talking about this for a while now with no intention on stopping. We need to create a Barn Yard Alliance. We need to create an organization comprised of all the different animal production industry groups to fight propositions and defend ourselves as animal producers from the illogical bullying of various activists groups.

We as dairy producers have seen firsthand what these activists can get away with. It is time we put an end to it.

Tyler Ribeiro

Tyler Ribeiro is a fourth-generation dairy farmer born and raised in California. He is currently partners with his father at Rib-Arrow Dairy in Tulare where they proudly ship their milk to Land O’Lakes. Tyler is actively involved in the dairy industry, holding leadership roles in various organizations locally and across the United States.