Ethicurean victories in AZ, CA, possibly MT; not Iowa’s SecAg race, alas

Today has been like Christmas for Democrats. When the Potato and I woke up this morning, we looked at each other and said, “Let’s go see who has the Senate!” But political party stuff aside — because you know what? sustainability and food security are purple-state issues, neither red nor blue — there is so much heartening news for Ethicurean-minded readers this morning.

Arizona passed Proposition 204, which will ban the use of tiny stalls for gestating sows, by veritable landslide: 61.5% to 38.5%. Pork magazine, predictably, says that American consumers are too out of touch with farming and thus easily swayed by information about how their meat is actually being raised. “It is regrettable animal rights groups were successful in vilifying honest, hardworking farmers and ranchers who treat their animals humanely and provide them a safe, healthy environment in which to grow,” the magazine quotes the National Pork Producers Council.

Boo hoo! Time for such hardworking farmers to stop competing on price alone. I predict (OK, make that I hope) that within 10 years, we’ll finally see animals raised for meat covered by the same animal-cruelty laws that govern pets.

Another pleasing outcome: California Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-Tracy) — a former feedlot operator who proposed selling off 15 national park sites and urged more offshore oil drilling — appears to be defintiely losing to Democratic challenger Jerry McNerney, a wind-power expert.

In Montana, Democratic challenger Jon Tester (left) is ahead of incumbent Republican Sen. Conrad Burns by about 1,700 more than 3,000 votes, enough to declare victory. Tester, a state senator, is also a third-generation Montana farmer who not only actually farms himself, but since the 1980s has been moving his land to organic certification. He grows organic wheat, barley, lentils, peas, millet, buckwheat, alfalfa, and hay, and he’s pro-alternative energy. A Democratic majority in the Senate regardless, I really hope this guy gets elected.

Alas, organic farmer Denise O’Brien, who campaigned for Iowa’s secretary of agriculture in a biodiesel schoolbus, appears to have narrowly lost to Republican (and conventional soybean/corn farmer) Bill Northey, 48% to 52%. Silver lining: that’s way more votes than this supposedly fringe candidate was expected to get.

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