The U.S. Supreme Court refused on Monday to hear a meat industry challenge to California's voter-approved Proposition 12, which requires farmers to give sows, veal calves, and egg-laying chickens more room to move about and bans shipments of pork, veal, and eggs produced outside of California if the animals are housed in conditions that do not meet California's standards.
Under a law signed on Thursday, Michigan will become the largest egg-producing state to require farmers to switch to cage-free egg production. The Humane Society of the United States said the decision “shows just how rapidly American views on the treatment of farm animals are evolving.”
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a law last Friday that will require eggs sold in the state, whether they come from commercial flocks in Oregon or are produced elsewhere, to come from cage-free hens beginning in 2024. California and Washington State already have similar laws.
California's Prop 12, which prohibits the sale of eggs in the state from chickens housed in battery cages, along with the arrival of the first viable egg substitutes, amounts to a one-two punch that could mark the beginning of the end of the industrial egg, writes Rowan Jacobsen in FERN's latest story, published with New Food Economy. (No paywall)
In a surprising amicus brief, the Justice Department last week recommended that the Supreme Court not hear Missouri’s challenge to California’s animal-welfare laws, which mandate larger cages for some farm animals. The stance could bode well for animal-welfare advocates fighting for similar legislation in other states.
California’s animal welfare regulations, among the strictest in the nation, have spawned a series of court challenges. This week, those regulations became part of the farm bill debate. No paywall
A CoBank economist, Trevor Amen, says demand for eggs produced by cage-free hens will remain depressed for several months because a flood of conventionally produced eggs is available, reports Feedstuffs.
Animal welfare activists, led by the Humane Society of the United States, have filed papers in California to introduce an initiative that would make all eggs cage-free in the state by 2022.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to the landmark California law that says table eggs shipped into the state for sale must come from farms that give chickens enough room to stand, turn around, and fully extend their wings.
Although some 70 percent of U.S. egg production will come from cage-free hens in 2025 to meet food industry commitments, the market for cage-free eggs is thin at the moment, says United Egg Producers
Half-a-dozen farm, retail and agribusiness groups say a voter initiative in Massachusetts on animal welfare will drive up production costs and equate to an indirect food tax. The proposal, which had more than 2-to-1 support in a recent opinion poll, would end the use of sow crates, veal calf stalls and battery cages for egg-laying hens.
One result of the USDA's proposed livestock-welfare rule for organic farmers would be the eventual end of confinement-style egg production, because it says poultry must be given access to outdoor yards. A powerhouse group of 13 senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the leaders of the Agriculture Committee says the rule could affect egg prices at the grocery store and drive up costs for producers.
Paris-based Sodexo, one of the world's largest food-service suppliers, pledged to sell only cage-free eggs worldwide by 2025, reports the Washington Post, signaling that the movement “long championed by animal rights activists, is going more global.”
Publix, the country’s fifth-largest supermarket chain, became the last of the top 25 grocery companies to pledge to sell only cage-free eggs within the decade, reports the Orlando Sentinel.
Even though big food companies like Walmart, General Mills and McDonald’s pledged to sell only cage-free eggs, producers are growing wary of investing in cage-free housing because “those premium eggs simply are not selling well,” reports American Public Media’s Marketplace.
The Humane Society of the United States is calling for state and federal investigations after it released undercover video, from one of New England’s largest egg producers, that shows chickens caked in feces and packed in tiny cages, in some cases with dead and mummified birds.
A proposal for humane treatment of livestock on organic farms will remain open for comment an additional 30 days, through July 13, said USDA. Among its provisions, the proposed regulation on animal welfare would require poultry farms to encourage all birds to go outside every day, eventually ending confinement-style egg production.
Dozens of food companies have pledged to switch to cage-free eggs over the next few years, including Walmart, the largest U.S. grocery retailer.
Mammoth retailer Walmart, also the largest U.S. grocer, said it will shift to cage-free eggs "based on available supply, affordability and customer demand by 2025." The transition applies to Walmart and Sam's Club stores and was the latest in a string of announcements by food chains.