Florida was first on the radar screen for ballot initiatives. HSUS, Farm Sanctuary and friends likely thought it wouldn’t really draw a lot of attention in a state without a major swine presence. That alone tells you that these “animal protectionists” are not looking to “save” as many animals as possible. However, they were right – the “pregnant pig” initiative flew under the radar screen of many ag groups. When it subsequently passed, it set the stage for Arizona, Colorado and California.
The result hasn’t been positive; according to a recent AP article, the two hog operations in FL are going out of business. However the longer-lasting effect has been reducing citizen initiatives. Perhaps if citizens of the state had actually began the initiative, rather than million dollar activist organizations, pregnant pigs wouldn’t be in the Florida constitution. Do Californians really want to make the same mistake by voting in Proposition 2?
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The “pregnant pig” amendment Florida voters adopted six years ago finally goes into effect next week, but its most prominent and enduring role has been to help curtail citizen initiatives.
The amendment, which prohibits tying up or confining gestating sows in enclosures too small for them to turn around in, goes into effect Wednesday after an extended phase-in. Rather than change their ways, Florida’s only two hog operations that would have been affected went out of business, said Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson.
The 2002 amendment, sponsored by animal-rights groups, has become a rallying point for business interests, their allies in the Republican-controlled Legislature and others who want to make it harder to amend the Florida Constitution by petition.
“It’s been a pyrrhic victory,” said University of Florida political scientist Dan Smith. “The pregnant pig and bullet train amendments have both been held up as symbols of how easy it is to amend the state constitution.”
In 2000, voters approved a high-speed rail line that would span the state. Four years later they repealed it as too costly.
The pregnant pig amendment, though, remains in the constitution, readily available to be waved liked a bloody shirt by those who want to clamp down on citizen initiatives.
They have included then-Gov. Jeb Bush, who said in his 2003 State of the State address: “The bottom line is that pregnant pigs don’t belong in our state constitution.” See the rest of the article here.