Now I'm really confused. We've gotten some great comments on both sides of the Proposition 2 argument and I'm not sure how to vote. This will obviously require some additional reading on my part, and some soul searching.
My initial thought was to vote yes. Even though I knew that the measure didn't go far enough. I'm usually of the philosophy that every little bit helps. Then I read that the Humane Society was advocating a yes vote on this proposition. That was enough for me.
But after posting about it, Sat of Bacon and Tofu submitted a comment which lead me to a post by Gary Francione, entitled What to Do About Proposition 2 on the Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach. My takeaway from that post was that this proposition has the potential to do much more harm than good, as it will lull people into a false sense of doing good, when the proposition doesn't go nearly far enough.
Recently I was speaking with my brother, who is not a vegan, and will probably never consider going vegan. He does however, eat only organic meats, raised and slaughtered by a local farmer. By doing this, he has a sense that he is doing good, and this is a valid solution. The animals fare much better than those raised on commercial farms. But he has no counter to my comment that eating this way is not a viable option for the bulk of the population. As a society, we would not be able to produce enough meat to feed the population (at the current rate of consumption). He is reply to that is that he doesn't care about the bulk of the population. He cares about what he and his family are doing.
Wow. And this is my environmentally-minded brother, who has children who will inherit the mess we leave behind. (Our conversation was more about eating locally versus eating vegan, and how that impacts the environment.) He's not looking for a sustainable solution. He's looking for a solution that makes him feel better about his personal actions.
So that got me thinking that if the bulk of the population is so me-centric, then there is validity to Mr. Francione's point that this proposition will make the public even more complacent than they already are, and that we should hold out for something that will make more of an impact. And that led me to a "no" vote.
But then I read through your comments, and there are some compelling reasons to vote yes. Without summarizing each and every one (and if you haven't read the comments, I'd suggest doing so... it's quite a good conversation over there!), below are some of the points you've made that I've found most interesting. and are the things I'll be mulling over in the near future:
Gary of Animal Writings, who's opinion we respect very much, suggests that the measure is worth supporting even if it falls short of the mark: "The overwhelming message of Prop 2 is that certain cruelties to animals are unacceptable and should be outlawed." and "Though a desire for happy meat is misguided and morally insufficient, it’s better than having no consideration whatsoever for the animals who are raised and killed for food. Recogniton of farmed animals as thinking, feeling individuals provides a basis for further lifestyle and moral evolution. It is a critical first step." (He has many other interesting points too.)
Bea E. is concerned that Prop 2 will result in people thinking the problem has been mitigated and it is okay to eat meat since the standards for raising these animals have been improved.
Kim is voting against Prop 2 because she objects to the "happy meat" message too.
Sue H. doesn't believe it's an "all or nothing" measure.
Barna of SF Vegan points out that some of the commercial animal ventures are strongly supporting this measure, because it will result in an increase in their profits. (Please see Barna's comment below for clarification.)
kim of Alls Well That Ends Vegan advocates for Prop 2 as it will increase awareness of animal suffering. She asks "How do you change public perceptions of animals’ “rights” unless you take advantage of large campaigns that at least address such issues?"
laura also advocates for Prop 2 and provides links to additional reading, if you're interested.
And Elaine Vigneault strongly suggests writing the Humane Society and explaining a "No" vote. Which is something that we will do should we decide to vote "no."
So, if you have an opinion on this matter, keep talking to us. We haven't made up our minds yet, although we're back to leaning towards a Yes vote (I know, how fickle we are). Even if you don't live in California, you have the opportunity to influence two votes, at least.
-- Lane & Jane