Imagine spending your entire life in a cage. You cannot turn around. You share the tight cage with three other people. Below you sits a pile of your own waste and the waste of your cell mates.

This is not a fictional, “what-if” scenario in a dystopian future. It is reality for millions of pigs, chickens and other animals farmed for food.

But now, a proposed ballot measure in California could change this throughout the state by banning the sale of veal, eggs, and pork from facilities that force animals to live in cages and crates.

The measure needs about 600,000 signatures to make it onto the ballot. It would be a huge step forward for animal rights and would disrupt the current standardized brutality of the animal factory farming industry (though some animal advocates point to some troubling language and potential pitfalls in the proposed measure).

The majority of egg-producing hens in the US are imprisoned in small wire cages. Most pigs are confined to crates where they cannot turn around or take more than a few steps in any direction. And baby calves are still made to live their lives in solitary-confinement-style crates.

Pigs and chickens have both been shown to be display complex emotions and behaviors as well exhibit advanced cognition comparable or more advanced than cats and dogs.

In the name of cheap meats, we have sacrificed our humanity and sentenced animals to lives of misery. There should be no price tag on the fair and adequate treatment of other sentient, living beings.

According to the Humane Society, polling shows that 72 percent of Californians say they would vote in favor of this measure. It’s crucial that it make it to the ballot so Californians can speak for those without voices and continue to push forward for a more compassionate world.

If you live in California and are able to help collect signatures, please sign up here.

If you aren’t in California, but want to be a part of this monumental move forward toward a more equitable, less cruel world for all its inhabitants, consider a donation to help Prevent Cruelty California, the coalition of groups fighting to help this important bill pass.