Poultry at a California farm. Courtesy California Water Resources Control Board

A new ballot initiative banning the caging of egg-laying hens and setting minimum-space requirements for other animals was approved for the November ballot on Friday.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced that that the initiative had exceeded the required 402,468 valid signatures to qualify.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act would establish new minimum space requirements for confining veal calves, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens, require egg-laying hens be raised in a cage-free environment beginning in 2022, and prohibit the sale of meat and egg products from confined animals.

Backers of initiative, Prevent Cruelty California, include the San Diego Humane Society and other mainstream animal-support groups.

“Californians have shown time and time again that they want commonsense protections for animals, the environment, and food safety,” according to the initiative’s website.

“This measure will prevent farm animals from being crammed into cages so small they can hardly move an inch. The measure will also ensure that food items sold in California are compliant with these modest standards.”

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.