ALLEN-PRICE: Now there are some farms that are basically already doing this kind of farming, right?
VENTON: Yeah, exactly. I went to a small farm in Pescadero near the coast and a farmer there, her name is Dede Boies, showed me around the grounds. And she is really, really passionate about taking care of her animals in the most natural conditions that she can.
DEDE BOIES: So we pasture raise two different breeds of slow-growing chickens, and ducks, heritage turkeys and pigs. Right now we're kind of looking at the set up we have, where all the animals get rotated.
MCCLURG: The animals are kept in a very large, very open space.
DEDE BOIES: This time of day, they're pretty much in the shelter. But in the morning and evening they definitely spread out a lot more.
MCCLURG: And she's just really against the idea of keeping animals confined in any way.
DEDE BOIES: The point for me is to raise animals in a way that they were intended to live.
ALLEN-PRICE: Dede Boies supports Prop 12 because she wants to see more animals raised without cages. If this prop feels vaguely familiar to you, there's a reason why.
ALLEN-PRICE: Didn't we already do this? I remember voting on this already.
MCCLURG: In some ways we did already. This was Proposition 2, back in 2008. It said that animals should have enough space to stand up, sit down, turn around and spread their limbs or wings. It didn't allocate a specific amount of space, and industry basically argued that that was too vague, so they didn't take the animals out of the cages, they just put fewer animals in the cages.
ALLEN-PRICE: So, is it fair to think of Prop 12 as kind of a redo of Prop 2? Only this time, like, with much more specific requirements?
MCCLURG: Yeah that's right. And so it's 43 square feet per calf. It's 24 square feet per pig and each egg-laying hen will have to have a foot of space. I think what's important about Proposition 12 is it not only includes animals in California and how they're raised but also anything imported into California. So this will change the practices for producers all across the country.
ALLEN-PRICE: And as you might guess, not all those producers are thrilled about Proposition 12.
MCCLURG: I also talked to a guy named Ken Maschhoff. He's a pork producer in Illinois.
KEN MASCHHOFF: We're on the same land that my great great great great grandfather purchased in 1851.
MCCLURG: And he was really adamant that he believes in taking care of animals, but he actually specifically said the animals do not have rights.
KEN MASCHHOFF: But I believe that farmers, ranchers, veterinarians are animal welfarists. So there's a difference between animal rights and animal welfare.
MCCLURG: And then we should take care of animals as best we can but we need to be cost effective.
KEN MASCHHOFF: [This] type of legislation actually affects low income people much much harder than middle or high income folks because they just can't afford the cost of their food.
MCCLURG: And he says, you know, if consumers are willing to pay more these products are already available in the grocery store. You can already buy cage-free, organic, etc. products. Those are available. So why force everyone to do something that maybe they can't afford?
ALLEN-PRICE: If Prop 12 passes there is some time built in for producers to adapt their facilities. Changes for pork and veal need to be done by 2020 and for egg-laying hens, it's 2022.
ALLEN-PRICE: Last up, we've got Proposition 3. And what would a California election be without a water prop on the ballot? Voters just okayed a $4 billion water bond in June of this year. And here we are again.