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Yes on Prop 2 and Hope for Next Week

As we all prepare to walk through the gateway next Tuesday presents to our nation, there are some things I wanted to speak out about.

Proposition #2: I've seen and helped fund the running of US Humane Society ads on TV these past few weeks. Oprah hosted a show which faced off Wayne Pacelle, the free-range and humanely food farmers versus the factory farmers who do the mass food production of hoofed (pork, veal) and clawed (chicken and eggs) and concerned folk about cost to consumers. I don't know how it went but I thank Oprah for the forum.

Animal welfare in our food supply is a heartbreaking situation that we have a chance to fix. Some basic facts:

- The industries affected have until 2015 to figure out how to better the existence of animals. And that's just to better them. We're still going to consume as a nation 76 billion or eggs in 2009. What this bill mandates is simply improving the sheet of paper-sized living existence footage for those creatures (with souls and the ability to feel pain and frustration).
For veal calves who mostly can't even stand because of the way they live after they get taken from their mothers and pigs who can't even turn around and yet are inseminated to make babies...this bill is a tiny start to desperately needed change to our food system and it's inherently inhumane practices.
The eating of animals is how our species and many others have survived for many years. But to feed the needs of our growing world and economy (with profit as the almighty deity- a spreading worldwide belief that may have already outpaced God and Jesus' dominance at this point) here we are, with mass factory farming- facilities where thousands of animals are kept and treated like machines.
Regardless of what happens on Tuesday, here are some useful links on how you can make the change with your own pocketbook, choices and lifestyle:

- The media. Not entirely useless, but close: SF Chronicle says no. Boo. This editorial is not balanced. There's a reason why they call it, "The Comical." Marin Independent Journal- boo. Even the New York Times GETS it. So much for in-state reporting. Hooray for the Oakland Tribune/Contra Costa Times.
- Buy from Niman Ranch and other humane farming businesses. Read Bill Niman's article in the Comical...and kudos to them for allowing presentation of multiple viewpoints (yep, I dissed them two points above). Some favorites of mine are Marin Sun Farms, Judy's Family Farm, Prather Ranch.
- An interesting one if you have to make fast food choices: Chipotle.
- Withdraw any future support for Calfornians for Safe Food. That's a coalition you can SKIP joining.

- The Governator. When is his damn term up anyway?

- The American Veterinary Association. Ask your vet if he or she is a member and ask them to consider what they get out of this membership in contrast to their profession which is to help animals. NOT to be confused with the California Veterinary Medical Association- hooray for them!
- If you're into food and public health causes, consider starting to support the California Center for Food Safety. Add to the list: Consumer Federation of America, Center for Science in the Public Interest. Here's a full list of supporters.

- Redirect your support to organizations like: ASPCA, Farm Sanctuary and the U.S. Humane Society. The Humane Society has spearheaded a ton of great work on this issue these many long months. The only thing I have to wonder is whether they considered running their TV advertisements in Spanish in support of Prop 2. Maybe they did. If not, here's the idea guys.
- Who to avoid: Hormel Foods, Pilgrim's Pride, Foster Farms. Here is a list of other providers who've funded anti-Prop 2 measures and advertising. Keep your business away from them.
In general, it's a good rule of thumb to shop only for brands you know are doing the right thing and avoid all else until you can do proper research. Why? Because that's the food system we've evolved. We're in it and we're eating it. And why not consider eating lower on the food chain more frequently? It'll lead you to more culinary adventure.
Read more from a vegan (I am not, but vegans are helping to lead a change and an awareness we must all have about where our food comes from) and founding member of BlogHer. And no, veganism is not weird. If you don't know what it is, learn more instead of turning away in ignorance. It's a fascinating personal choice that we all have before us.
And of course, don't forget the most important choice of all on Tuesday. For hope, for change, for the nation.
If you're reading from outside the U.S. and have donated to help our poor country get back on the right track- thank you for your support!
Photo by: Moi. Obama Tagger Art. Oakland, California.

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