Animal Rights Groups at Odds Over Proposition 12

Warning: The video below contains graphic images that some viewers may find disturbing.

SACRAMENTO -- Undercover video showing the treatment of pigs at a farm in Kentucky was used to make a push for Proposition 12.

Mercy for Animals planted a worker at the farm for four months and gathered video of pigs being housed in gestation cages, where they can barely move. The animal rights groups says pigs were gnawing on bars because of the stress and boredom.

It also showed piglets heads being bashed onto the concrete to kill them because they were injured or sickly. Pigs were routinely being beaten with objects and tails and testicles were removed without anesthetics.

Proposition 12 will be on the November ballot. It would extend space requirements for animals at farms that import pork into the state.

"This historic legislation will end the worst forms of factory farm animal abuse once and for all," said Matt Rice, president of Mercy For Animals.

But opponents of the initiative say the abuses in the video are horrible but are not addressed by the initiative.

"Proposition 12 is a total scam. It doesn’t help animals, it hurts them," said Bradley Miller of Californians Against Cruelty, Cages and Fraud.

They say the proposition is really about the confinement of egg-laying chickens, which is a $1 billion industry in California. A handful of animal rights groups says Proposition 12 extends the use of small 1-square-foot spaces for chickens, which an earlier proposition sought to ban.

Proponents said many more animal rights groups support the initiative on the November ballot because it requires "cage-free" chickens by the year 2022. In addition, they say it closes a loophole that allows animal products produced out of state to bypass state standards on space for animals.

The JBS USA company, which buys products from the farm where the undercover video was taken, has suspended acquisitions after viewing the video. JBS ships pork products to California.