Wonder if this means the Food Police will soon be armed with tasers and AK-47s. I'm all for animal welfare but NOT at the expense of freedom/liberty. Those that go along with this will be traitors against the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.http://www.feedstuffs.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=F4D1A9DFCD974EAD8CD5205E15C1CB42&nm=&type=news&mod=News&mid=A3D60400B4204079A76C4B1B129CB433&tier=3&nid=C221CC6DEC2B4D30BF38E2BA6418F22A
Animal rights activists receive more police power with proposed law
Animal rights and vegetarian activists could have the authority to enter and search California farm buildings and arrest producers for suspected violations of animal welfare laws if California voters approve a ballot initiative this fall, Feedstuffs has learned.
This is the conclusion of attorneys who are analyzing the legal consequences of the initiative for agricultural and food interests in California, whose "Californians for SAFE Food" coalition is organized to educate Californians on the initiative and urge them to vote no on the measure.
The determination makes it exceedingly important for producers and production companies, trade associations and allied industry across the U.S. to become involved in the "SAFE Food" coalition, its supporters said.
The initiative -- which has been designated "Proposition 2," or "Prop 2" -- is directed at the treatment of farm animals and, if passed, would require that farm animals not be confined or tethered in a manner that prevents an animal from lying down, standing up, turning around and fully extending its limbs.
For a hen in an egg production system, fully extending its limbs means extending its wings without touching the side of an enclosure, such as a cage, or another hen, according to the initiative.
The initiative is directed at cage housing systems for hens and sow and veal calf stalls, but recent studies found that even most barn, or cage-free, housing systems for hens would be prohibited under the requirement.
The law would become effective on Jan. 1, 2015, and would carry penalties for violations of a fine not to exceed $1,000 and/or a jail term not to exceed 180 days. Legal observers have said violations could cover each animal.
Normally, investigations surrounding and arrests for alleged violations of criminal statutes are conducted by law enforcement and prosecutorial authorities.
However, in a paper based on legal opinion and provided to Feedstuffs, it was noted that California law is unique in that enforcement of animal cruelty and welfare laws "can be undertaken and/or compelled by any individual or by certain non-profit organizations."
The paper quoted California Penal Code 599a, which provides that an individual, who can represent a non-profit organization, can compel issuance of search warrants upon making a complaint under oath.
When such a complaint is made to any magistrate authorized to issue warrants that the complainant believes that any law relating to, or in any way affecting, "dumb animals or birds is being, or is about to be, violated in any particular building or place," that magistrate must issue a warrant to any law enforcement officer or to an officer of a legally qualified association "authorizing him to enter and search that building or place and to arrest any person there violating, or attempting to violate," the law, according to the paper's summation of the penal code.
The initiative qualified for the ballot through a petition carried by animal activists led by Farm Sanctuary and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), both non-profit organizations. Accordingly, the paper suggested that any representative of Farm Sanctuary, HSUS or other animal activist group "would be free to demand and execute warrants and make arrests" to enforce the initiative, the paper said.
The empowerment of non-profit organizations to enforce California animal cruelty laws is further provided for in California Corporations Code Sections 10400 and 14502, the paper said, noting that representatives of such organizations can obtain "peace officer" powers with respect to animal welfare laws.
This unique enforcement feature is almost never referred to by supporters of Prop 2 and is not ordinarily understood by the voting public, the paper said.
In a statement, senior campaign director for "SAFE Food" Mitch Head said Prop 2 would establish a precedent for the enforcement of animal welfare laws. "This is something that all of American agriculture must realize," he said, explaining how Prop 2 would help the animal activist groups supporting the measure "not only increase their political powers but also their police powers."
The possible consequences of Prop 2 show the dangers it presents to all of agriculture, not just the egg industry, sources said.
Information on joining "SAFE Food" is available at www.safecaliforniafood.org