A Brief History of Calif.’s Prop 2

How California’s landmark Proposition 2 went from idea to implementation.


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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Today, January 1, 2015, California’s landmark Proposition 2 takes effect. It requires that veal calves, egg-laying hens, and pregnant sows raised in the state of California be able to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs, and turn around freely.

Voters overwhelmingly passed the statewide proposition on November 4, 2008—the same day Barak Obama was elected president. It has withstood myriad legal challenges, and even requires that out-of-state farmers comply with the regulations if they wish to sell their products in California.

But the road to Prop. 2 began long before today. On July 7, 2007, a “small group of thoughtful, committed citizens” assembled at Animal Place in Vacaville, CA to begin strategizing. On that day the campaign began, led by Humane Society of the United States’ Paul Shapiro. Also in attendance was host Kim Sturla, Animal Place’s co-founder; Farm Sanctuary’s co-founder Gene Baur; and Dr. Elliot Katz, founder of In Defense of Animals, to name just a few of the many activists who would sign on to the project and devote large amounts of their time, all voluntary, over the next 16 months until that historic day in November. 

As the meeting was winding down I sensed the importance of the day and asked everyone to assemble for a photo before departing. It was an honor to work on Prop. 2 with this amazing group of activists, to help the animals move a bit more toward toward compassion, and to be a part of history. 

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