I haven't mentioned it until now, but I'd like to urge California voters to support Proposition 2, which bans excessively confining situations for farm animals. It is not perfect, but it does provide some protection for animals from the most grotesque penning practices. You can read about it in a piece from this week's New York Times magazine.
In California, which doesn't have much of a dairy industry, this law will mostly affect egg producers. The chicken farmers are complaining that this will raise the cost of eggs. It's hard to see, however, that this is going to be a dreadful hardship for anyone. Eggs are about the cheapest food there is, and I find it hard to believe that almost anyone shops for them on price. Price may decide which brand you choose, but how many people actually substitute eggs out of their diet because they suddenly cost $1.75 a dozen instead of $1.50. Even the very poor do not calculate meal prices to the $0.02 margin.
Here in DC, one of the most expensive food markets in the nation, chi-chi organic cage free eggs are less than $3 a dozen. That's about 25 cents an egg. I've lived on a very tight budget, but even in my most impecunious student days, I wouldn't have freaked out if my eggs had suddenly cost 5 cents more apiece. I'm sure I could have found a few beverage containers to return for the deposit. If there are really people so poor that paying 50 cents more for a dozen eggs will push them into starvation, then they need an increase in their food stamps.
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