In Ohio, half a million citizens signed petitions this year to place a measure on the statewide ballot to outlaw veal crates, gestation crates and battery cages. As the deadline to submit those signatures approached last month, agribusiness came to the table and agreed to phase out veal crates and gestation crates and to disallow any new battery cage operations from being constructed in Ohio. The fact that agribusiness leaders agreed to phase out veal crates and gestation crates, and put a moratorium on new battery cage facilities, is significant, indicating that these systems are coming to be widely recognized as unacceptable. Although we weren't able to achieve a full phase out of battery cages at this time in Ohio, the signatures gathered for the initiative will remain valid and they can be submitted in the future if need be.
It is critical to continue educating consumers and pushing for an end to battery cages. So far, two states, California and Michigan, have passed laws to phase out battery cages, and we expect that number to grow in the coming years. And this week, Governor Schwarzenegger signed a bill into law that prohibits the sale of eggs from facilities that do not adhere to California's battery cage ban. California is the nation's most populated state and it represents a huge market for eggs and other products so banning the sale of battery cage eggs in California is extremely significant and will go a long way toward pushing egg producers to move away from these cruel confinement systems.
Just 10 years ago, there were no laws in the U.S. to outlaw inhumane enclosures like veal crates, gestation crates and battery cages. Today, eight states (Florida, Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, Maine, California, Michigan and Ohio) have taken steps to ban at least one of these cruel systems, and more are sure to follow. Finally, the cruelty of factory farming is being challenged, and changed.