This overview provides a summary of the animal-related ballots measures presented to voters in 2008. Links to the text of the ballot measures are provided.
In 2008, only four animal-related ballot measures were presented to voters. Four states represent this group: Alaska, California, Massachusetts, and Oklahoma. California's Proposition 2 (or "Prop 2"), a measure aimed at eliminating the cruel confinement of pigs, hens, and calves, received extensive media coverage during the election year. In Massachusetts, voters are presented with the question of whether dog racing should be outlawed in the State. Oklahomans vote on a proposed constitutional amendment directed at preserving hunting as an inherent state right. Finally, Alaska already defeated an initiated state statute that would have prohibited the aerial hunting of wolves, grizzly bears, and wolverines.
This 2008 measure was an initiated state statute presented to voters in August of 2008. The measure would have prohibited shooting of a free-ranging wolf, wolverine, or grizzly bear the same day that the person has been airborne. It was defeated by a margin of 44.4% for the measure and 55.6% against on August 26th.
Proposition 2 - Standards for Confining Farm Animals. Initiative Statute:
This 2008 California initiative measure would add to the Health & Safety Code with a law entitled, "The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act." Specifically, the proposed law requires that calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs be confined only in ways that allow these animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely. Exceptions are made for transportation, rodeos, fairs, 4-H programs, lawful slaughter, research and veterinary purposes. The law provides misdemeanor penalties, including a fine not to exceed $1,000 and/or imprisonment in jail for up to 180 days and would go into effect on January 1, 2015.
Question 3 regarding dog racing:
This proposed law would prohibit any dog racing or racing meeting in Massachusetts where any form of betting or wagering on the speed or ability of dogs occurs. The State Racing Commission would be prohibited from accepting or approving any application or request for racing dates for dog racing. Any person violating the proposed law could be required to pay a civil penalty of not less than $20,000 to the Commission. All existing parts of the chapter of the state's General Laws concerning dog and horse racing meetings would be interpreted as if they did not refer to dogs. These changes would take effect January 1, 2010.
Oklahoma Question 742 would add a new section to the State Constitution. It gives all people of this state the right to hunt, trap, fish and take game and fish. Such activities would be subject to reasonable regulation. It allows the Wildlife Conservation Commission to approve methods and procedures for hunting, trapping, fishing and taking of game and fish. It allows for taking game and fish by traditional means, and makes hunting, fishing, and trapping the preferred means to manage certain game and fish.
To read more about the initiative and referendum process with links to individual states,
For a table showing past voter initiatives arranged by topic,