Animal welfare, stalled in the legislature, could make major progress at the ballot box.
This November, voters will get the chance to weigh in on some transformative new animal welfare laws at the state level. While these measures go well beyond any current requirements, they’re reasonably likely to pass. Voters tend to be more favorable toward animal welfare than legislators, and animal welfare laws have had some of their biggest successes at the ballot box.
Most Americans aren’t vegetarians or vegans, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t concerned with the welfare of animals. Nearly everyone consumes animals that are raised and killed on factory farms (over 99 percent of land animals raised for food are, so even “humane”-labeled food is typically factory-farmed). But even most meat-eating Americans are strongly opposed to the abuses that are commonplace in the industry. In a 2017 Ipsos/Sentience Institute poll, 49 percent of Americans supported a ban on factory farming, nearly 90 percent thought “farmed animals have roughly the same ability to feel pain and discomfort as humans,” and nearly 70 percent agreed that “the factory farming of animals is one of the most important social issues in the world today.”