Big Win for Hens as Judge Dismisses Challenge to California’s Prop 2Posted by Jessica Blome, Staff Attorney on October 3, 2014
Missouri’s campaign to roll back farmed animal protections approved by California voters ended yesterday when a federal judge in Northern California dismissed the Attorney General’s lawsuit challenging California’s Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, or Proposition 2, which passed in 2008. California voters helped pass Prop 2 so that farmers would have to make sure egg-laying hens, calves used for veal, and pregnant pigs can lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs, and turnabout freely within their enclosures. Shortly after the passage of Prop 2, in a surprising victory, the California General Assembly voted to require eggs sold in California to meet the same requirements as those produced in California.
Rather than advise egg producers to improve the living conditions for millions of animals raised for food within their borders, six states decided to litigate. Last February, the Attorney General of Missouri and five other states filed a federal lawsuit to overturn Prop 2. In April 2014, ALDF submitted an amicus brief, along with Farm Sanctuary and Compassion Over Killing, in support of the state of California’s motion for dismissal of Missouri’s lawsuit
In dismissing that lawsuit yesterday, the judge ruled that Missouri could not sue California because the lawsuit could only benefit an unidentified number of egg producers’ private economic interests, rather than the state as a whole. In other words, the Attorney General’s transparent attempt to harness the political prowess of big agriculture did not work in California federal court.
Due to a phase-in provision, Prop 2 is not scheduled to go into effect until 2015; therefore, any egg sold in California after January 2015 must be raised in the more humane conditions afforded by Prop 2. The judge’s ruling yesterday will allow Proposition 2 to go into effect next year instead and thereby improve the lives of millions of farmed animals throughout California and the U.S.