The battle over Prop 2, the Humane Society–sponsored measure to limit allegedly cruel confinement of chickens and other animals on California farms, is heating up, and a bevy of well-heeled San Diego–area denizens are choosing sides. Most of the local big money against the proposal comes from East County egg producers, who claim it could put them out of business. On July 8, Ramona’s Eben-Haezer Egg Ranch gave $4000 to Californians for SAFE Food, the campaign committee opposing the measure. Pine Hill Egg Ranch, also of Ramona, has given a total of $100,000 through July 19. Harmony Egg Ranch of Escondido is also against the measure, contributing $29,476 through June 13.
Supporters of Prop 2 include Del Mar’s Madeleine Pickens, the fourth and current wife of T. Boone Pickens, the oil tycoon who is now waging a national advertising campaign for wind energy; she kicked in $12,500 on September 5. In May of last year, Pickens smashed the record for the most expensive house ever sold in the county when she bought a Ken Ronchetti–designed Del Mar beach abode for $35 million. An avid animal lover, in 2005 the statuesque blonde chartered a Continental Airlines 737 to evacuate 120 stray dogs and cats from Hurricane Katrina–battered New Orleans.
Prop 2 also is being backed by La Jolla’s Wendy M. Globe Tsien, wife of Roger Tsien, the UCSD pharmacology professor who last week shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with a Columbia University professor and a Japanese-born scientist now based in Woods Hole, Massachusetts; on July 1, Wendy gave $15,000 to Prop 2, having previously contributed $500. The couple have long been financial stalwarts of liberal causes. He gave $2000 to Howard Dean in 2004; she gave $250 each to South Bay Democratic congressman Bob Filner and Wisconsin Democratic senator Russell Feingold’s Progressive Patriots Fund PAC earlier this year. Another $10,000 in favor of Prop 2 came from Poway philanthropist Lynn Wells, whose family runs the Toby Wells Foundation, one cause of which is animal rights.