Starting January 1, 2015, millions of farmed animals being raised in California can no longer be intensively confined inside tiny barren cages or crates, as mandated by law. Thanks to “Prop 2” – a history-making ballot measure overwhelmingly passed by California voters in 2008 under the official title of “The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act” – egg-laying hens, pregnant pigs, and dairy calves raised for veal must be provided with enough space to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs, and freely turn around. This effectively bans gestation crates, veal crates, and tiny wire cages for egg-laying hens.
But instead of preparing for this law to go into effect, the egg industry has been busy crying “fowl.” Several egg producers have tried to challenge Prop 2 in court, but all have failed to overturn the animal protection measure. A similar court challenge has been brought against California’s ban on eggs which come from caged hens in other states – but that too has failed so far.
Recently, there have been squawks of protest of another kind: With Prop 2 now in effect, egg factory farmers will have to shift production methods to provide hens with more space, which in turn will make California eggs more expensive.
Egg producers have had 6 years to prepare for this change in the law, but many have delayed initiating modifications to their current housing system, claiming that the law is vague and presumably hoping that one of the many court cases challenging the law would succeed. Despite their delays, egg industry associations are promising that their farmers will comply with the law on time – although animal advocates remain suspicious. Moreover, it remains unclear who will police the law in the event that violations occur.
Prop 2 represents a huge step forward in improving the lives of animals on factory farms, and it is all thanks to the tireless efforts of animal advocates and caring consumers like you. With your support, we can continue to push governments and corporations to do more to end some of the cruelest practices still used by animal agribusiness, which will also help protect consumers and the planet.