Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a historic bill on July 6 that will extend protection to egg-laying hens that live in other states, if the egg producers want to do business in California. The new humane law will have hens across the country spreading their wings with joy.
The bill, AB1437 will require out-of-state egg farmers that want to sell eggs in California grocery stores to adhere to the humane confinement rules created by Proposition 2. That law was passed in 2008 and will be fully implemented by 2015. Proposition 2 ends the use of inhumane battery cages to house chickens.
The Humane Society of the United States said this means all hens that contribute to the egg industry in California must be housed in cages that allow them to “stand up, lie down, turn around and fully extend their limbs without touching one another or the sides of an enclosure” – whether or not they live in the state. HSUS was one of the animal welfare organizations that backed the landmark bill which was introduced by Assemblyman Jared Huffman.
Farm Sanctuary wrote in their blog about the huge impact AB1437 will have on the nation’s hens. “California is the nation’s most populated state and it represents a huge market for eggs and other products, so banning the sale of battery cage eggs in California is extremely significant and will go a long way toward pushing egg producers to move away from these cruel confinement systems.”
Egg producers that do not comply with the new law will face up to 180 days in jail or a $1,000 fine. Just two states, California and Michigan, have passed laws to phase out battery cages.
Ten years ago, there were no laws in the U.S. protecting farm animals from inhumane housing such as veal crates, gestation crates and battery cages. Now there are eight states that have banned some of these cruel housing systems: Florida, Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, Maine, California, Michigan and Ohio.
Both HSUS and Farm Sanctuary are confident there will be more victories coming for animals raised at factory farms.