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Secessionist California Pig Farmers Swear Revenge on 'Hollywood Types'

visalia farm.jpg
Photo by Monica's Dad via Flickr
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Rural California is seceding from the urban coast? Well, if industrial pig farmers have anything to do with it, cities like Visalia, Tulare, and Fresno will soon be working to separate themselves from the heathen-vegan coast! The reason? It's all because we took their chicken coops away from them -- or, at least, because we fought against current agro-industrial standards for livestock health and welfare. The New York Times reports on a growing movement to separate California into geographical sects, spearheaded by Big Ag laborers who blame city-dwellers for failing farm productivity and insensitive policies.

“They think fish are more important than people, that pigs are treated mean and chickens should run loose,” said Mr. [Virgil] Rogers, who said he hitched a ride in 1940 to Visalia from Oklahoma to escape the Dust Bowl, with his wife and baby son in tow. “City people just don’t know what it takes to get food on their table.” The final straw for folks like Mr. Rogers was Proposition 2, a ballot measure in November that banned the tight confinement of egg-laying hens, veal calves and sows. While many food activists and politicians in the state hailed the vote as proof of consumers’ increasing interest in where their food comes from, the proposition’s passage has angry farmers and their allies wanting to put the issue of secession to a vote, perhaps as soon as 2012.

The irony of Prop 2, of course, is that now California's supermarkets are simply purchasing their eggs from foreign farms that are not beholden to any state laws. (Yup, that means your run-of-the-mill grocery eggs aren't any happier than they were pre Prop-2). Clearly, more work needs to be done to solve the serious problems of agro-industrial food production in our state. But is secession really the answer? Breaking California up into parts is an idea almost as old as the state itself, however, so Mr. Rogers may be tilting at windmills if he wants to divide the Golden land up. Even though us "Hollywood types" may not understand the myriad of issues, concerning both people and livestock, that is driving this new separatist movement, we've still got the power of the pocketbook. It's time for both parties to come to the table, so to speak, and break bread over how to sustain the state's economy, the people's health, and the animals' standard of living. Everybody needs to lay down arms -- vegans and farmers alike -- and strive for a solution that's both good for the body and good for the wallet.