New California Law Protects Out-of-State Egg-Laying Hens

Posted by Stephanie Ulmer, Guest Blogger on July 12, 2010

Non-Californian egg-laying hens are included in a new law allowing them to stretch their wings if their eggs make it to market in the Golden State but they still must wait until 2015 to gain this new freedom…

Although not the first state to regulate the size of cages for hens (other states had previously passed laws regarding bovine and swine crates), California is the first to include chickens in the banning of small cages and in the regulating of their living spaces. Although it took several years and lots of work to get Proposition 2 on the ballot in California in 2008, it passed with over 63% approval. It is clear that the people of California want better treatment and living conditions for farmed animals. However, Prop 2 will not take effect until 2015.

This newest provision, signed into law last month by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and introduced by state assemblyman Jared Huffman, assures that Proposition 2’s protections will apply to all eggs sold in California, even if the eggs are laid out of state. The 2015 deadline also applies to the new law, and is again most likely a compromise with farmers who have maintained that they need adequate time in order to comply with the new provisions requiring them to have larger cages in which the hens can stand and turn around. But nearly five years still seems like a long time for the hens to have to wait. Here’s hoping that this law will push farmers all over the country to get the larger crates even sooner than expected.

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