Veterinarians and California’s Proposition 2
An Unprecedented Partnership

November 5, 2008

There's no doubt that California's Proposition 2, approved by voters on November 4th, 2008, was a landmark victory for animals. Approximately 20 million caged farm animals will be given the freedom to stand up, turn around and stretch their limbs by the phase-in date of 2015.

Proposition 2 also made history with unprecedented support for a key farm animal welfare reform from California's veterinary community.

Support for Animal Welfare Reform

Western veterinary students holding Prop 2 poster
Western University of Health Sciences veterinary students Allison Pang, Kyla Savick and Sofia Padilla, all members of the HSVMA student chapter on campus, helped spread the word about Proposition 2 in California.

There was broad-based support from the veterinary professionals throughout the state, with more than 700 individual veterinarians, 90 veterinary hospitals and 150 veterinary medical students in California endorsing Prop 2.

Taking a leading role in support of Prop 2 was the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), who stood strong and publicly endorsed the measure. Although this decision created controversy among some members, particularly agribusiness allies, the CVMA Board of Governors maintained their support position, recognizing that Prop 2 was clearly aligned with the organization's eight principles of animal care and use.

Subsequent to the state association decision, both San Diego County and Marin County VMAs added their endorsements, demonstrating professional leadership support at the local level as well.

Volunteer Efforts

Dr. Hodges collects signatures for ballot measure
HSVMA member, Dr. Barbara Hodges, collects signatures to qualify California's Prevention of Animal Cruelty Act for the November ballot.
Pam Runquist

Many compassionate veterinary professionals throughout California, including several HSVMA members, committed time, energy and resources to help pass the initiative. Efforts ranged from gathering signatures to get the measure on the ballot to garnering endorsements from colleagues and making presentations at local VMA meetings.

Some veterinarians were even more public in their activism, writing letters to the editor, submitting opinion pieces to newspapers, meeting with editorial boards, attending press conferences and appearing in TV ads to help spread the word that the profession supported Prop 2.

Leadership on Animal Welfare Issues

The public looks to the veterinary profession for leadership on animal welfare issues. In the case of Proposition 2, the California veterinary community clearly demonstrated this leadership by approving a modest animal welfare reform that will benefit millions of farm animals.

We at HSVMA look forward to continued collaboration with the veterinary community in order to enact other landmark animal welfare reforms.