Sept 19, 2005
Arizonans will have some big choices to make during the 2006 election year, and one of the biggest could involve pregnant pigs.

Animal-rights activists have filed an initiative that would make it a crime for farmers to keep young calves or pregnant pigs in crates so cramped that the animals can't turn around.

Opponents already are rallying to defeat the measure, calling it "anti-meat."

The political lines are being drawn, with the Arizona Humane Society on one side and the Arizona Cattlemen's Association on the other. Arizonans for Humane Farms, a coalition of local and national activists, said Arizona must outlaw "cruel and intensive confinement" of animals on big, corporate farms.
Among other difficulties, the pigs and calves suffer from psychological stress because they "can't engage in normal behaviors," Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement.

The proponents need to gather about 123,000 valid signatures by July 6 to get their measure on the November 2006 ballot. The group has started recruiting volunteers and has a Web site: