.Sonoma County ‘Factory Farm’ Ban Likely on November Ballot

4) Another new measure we’re likely to see on the November ballot for Sonoma County voters, now that it has enough backers, is a somewhat controversial measure that would shut down any large ag operations in our area that qualify as “factory farms.” In other words, the North Bay Business Journal reports, “The initiative would phase out medium- and large-sized ‘concentrated agricultural feeding operations,’ or CAFOs, in Sonoma County. The definition of a CAFO includes animals stabled or confined for 45 days or more in any 12-month period. The size of the farms that stand to be out of compliance would vary by animal and according to how they discharge manure.” The group behind the initiative is called the Coalition to End Factory Farming — and it’s closely linked to an animal liberation group called Direct Action Everywhere, according to KRCB news radio. Here’s some more background from KRCB: “In a press release Wednesday, March 27th, the group said they’ve collected the necessary signatures, and received confirmation from the county registrar to get the proposed legislation put before voters. The initiative targets concentrated animal feeding operations in Sonoma County — called CAFO’s. Campaigner Cassie King said the coalition believes around two dozen local animal agriculture businesses would be affected. ‘They would have a three year phase out period from when the initiative passes to either close down their operation or come into compliance by no longer being a CAFO,’ King said. ‘Which would basically mean downsizing.’ … Strongly opposed to the measure: the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, said executive director Dayna Ghirardelli. ‘We’re gonna completely see our county change should this somehow pass,’ Ghirardelli said. ‘There’s gonna be farms that we enjoy and see as we drive around our county that will essentially go out of business.’ The Farm Bureau said renowned businesses like Straus Creamery, Clover Sonoma, and Petaluma Poultry would all be forced out of business should the initiative be approved by voters. Besides chickens and cows, animals covered in the proposed initiative include: pigs, horses, sheep or lambs, turkeys, and ducks. The ballot measure would also require Sonoma County to create a job re-training program for workers affected by closures. The coalition behind the initiative is closely associated with the animal liberation group Direct Action Everywhere. Current and former members have been at the center of a high profile court case relating to protests at Sonoma County poultry facilities in recent years. The ballot initiative is likely to go before voters in November.” (Source: KRCB & North Bay Business Journal)

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