The proposal for a ban on factory farming (also known as CAFOs, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) has qualified for the ballot in Sonoma County, California, so citizens would be able to vote on whether they want such a ban. In the US, the process of initiatives and referendums allows citizens of many states to place legislation on the ballot for a referendum or popular vote, either enacting new legislation or voting down existing legislation. Often a particular number of signatures need to be collected first for an issue to qualify to be included in the ballot. 

In early March 2024, volunteers with the Coalition to End Factory Farming (CEFF), which includes Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) SF Bay Area, submitted over 37,000 signatures for the ballot initiative, and the County validated over 25,000 signatures, 130% of the signatures needed. 

The Registrar of Voters will now send the initiative to the County Board of Supervisors, which will decide when it will go to a vote (most likely on the November ballot). Based on DxE research, Sonoma County has about 24 CAFOs, confining millions of animals in cramped spaces for their brutal exploitation. 

This is the first-ever county ballot measure to ban factory farming in the US, although citizens of the municipality of Berkeley, California, will also hold a vote at the Council on this ban, also on their November ballot. A coalition formed by groups such as DxE and Compassionate Bay gathered and submitted nearly 4,500 signatures of Berkeley citizens and qualified for the Nov 2024 ballot. The ordinance intends to protect all residents of Berkeley, including nonhuman animals, from the harmful effects of factory farming and lay the groundwork for Californian Counties, and the state as a whole, to transition away from intensive animal agriculture.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.