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Schwarzenegger signs landmark egg bill into law

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Tuesday signed legislation into law requiring that eggs sold in California come from hens that are not crammed into cages.

The law requires all eggs sold in the state as of Jan. 1, 2015, to come from hens able to stand up, fully extend their limbs, lie down and fully extend their wings without touching each other or the sides of cages.

The new regulations comply with the standards outlined in Proposition 2, which was approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2008.

The measure, which captivated  animal welfare advocates, was championed by the Humane Society of the United States as a way to protect hens and improve food safety for consumers.

"Californians have made it clear that they don't want unsafe eggs from hens crammed into cages, and we applaud the Legislature and governor for heeding this call," Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle said in a statement.

-- Robert J. Lopez

Comments () | Archives (52)

What utter nonsense................your state is coming unglued and this is important legislation?? I would suggest that you Californians get serious about things that are really important, like getting your house in order and getting your deficit under control!!

The rest of us are not interested in bailing you out with our tax dollars........spend what you can afford, stop all the give away programs and for goodness sake, get busy about the needs of your people that matter. Stop with this ridiculous parade of useless legislation that means absolutely nothing to humans nor the ANIMALS ( and yes they are just that ) you so tritely are trying to protect from being used for the purpose they are put here on earth for...................stop the insanity and elect leaders who have their priorities straight. PEOPLE OVER ANIMALS EVERYDAY OF THE WEEK!!

What utter nonsense................your state is coming unglued and this is important legislation?? I would suggest that you Californians get serious about things that are really important, like getting your house in order and getting your deficit under control!!

The rest of us are not interested in bailing you out with our tax dollars........spend what you can afford, stop all the give away programs and for goodness sake, get busy about the needs of your people that matter. Stop with this ridiculous parade of useless legislation that means absolutely nothing to humans nor the ANIMALS ( and yes they are just that ) you so tritely are trying to protect from being used for the purpose they are put here on earth for...................stop the insanity and elect leaders who have their priorities straight. PEOPLE OVER ANIMALS EVERYDAY OF THE WEEK!!

MissMarple.............and I suppose you cry when a tree dies.............right??

It is inhuman to not treat these animals as kindly as we can. As the Law of Moses says "The righteous man is kind even to his beast."
Kudos Governor

Having grown up on a small farm. We had cattle, hogs, rabbits and chickens. Unlike some of today's CAFO's, confined animal farm operation, our animals except the rabbits were all free range. They had plenty of area to roam around in. Chickens had an area that they were kept in but still could walk about in grass and live life as a happy chicken, at least until their head was cut off and turned into dinner at some time or other. Mom sold most of the eggs to local neighbors or people who just happened to see the sign in the front yard. Back then, her eggs were 3 dozen for a dollar, then raised up to $1.25. I realize to some people it may sound silly but farm animals are alot happier and more productive to be able to move around and space to live in. I applaud what the Governator has done!

who will police this.. and who will pay for the "egg police'.. you can bet the HSUS ( or one of their many subsidiaries) will have a "committee" all set up to do this.. for a price of course.. HSUS .. the Blackwater of the egg industry.. people.. the HSUS does NOTHING without a long range goal.. cultists do not care how long it takes to reach their goals... they only care about the "process" that brings them to the endgame..and that process starts with laws like this.. legislators have been duped.. the people have been duped..the HSUS thinks to the future while people can't see past their noses and legislators past their coffers..
The sky is falling.. hey for once Chicken ( free range of course ) is right...
Eggs actly

sorry that would be Chicken ( free range of course ) Little..

I'm for treating the chickens humanely, even if it ends up costing more. Who wants eggs from a sick, abused chicken that can't even walk around a cage?

How are we going to exploit the weak if we keep passing laws to protect them? Next thing you know, somebody will force the same requirement on California prisons.

Uh, what? They have?!? When? Supreme Court!?! Oh well.

Ok, so then, we're going to have "unsafe" eggs until 2015?

What was so important, if we need to wait that long to fix something?

Check out www.ThisIsJustice.com

Even if someone in your family were suffering, and you had to take extra care of that person, it does not mean that you ignore the rest of the people on this Earth. We have an obligation to do what we can to alleviate the suffering of others. So even though we are suffering economically in this state, that does not excuse us from taking care of the most innocent of beings under our care.

Compassion is infinite. It can not be used up. We can have compassion for these hens, and still be just as full of empathy for the families that are suffering economically.

There was a time in our history where even children had no rights. Corporations exploited them for low wages in dangerous conditions. When we enacted laws to protect the innocent, prices for the goods they were creating went up.

We should be proud to live in a society that values compassion over a few bucks. Prices will always be rising, no matter what. Our progress as a society will hopefully grow into a place where cruelty toward all sentient beings is not tolerated.

Woohoo! Another reason I actually like a Republican governor!

The real post of this law is to protect CA chicken biz from out of state competitors.

Special interests working with the Hollywood elite to drive up the cost for food for the w0rking class.

freaking GOP... serious.. eggs... the cost of eggs just went up.. you guys are something else.

Oh, the state we live in. Chickens are protected, but innocent unborn humans can still be aborted. What does that say about us?

LOL - maybe this is a good law anyway. It generates levity and healthy eggs may have a 'butterful' affect to improve our state. Gotta go have an omelet - see ya

Joy.. you got your wish foie gras is banned in Ca.. that is coming up soon.. the restriction drove a lovely family out of a legitimate business while their family was tortured by animal rights activists.. who care more for ducks.. than for people.. the man used his life saving to buy his farm.. then the "do gooders" drove him away.. another loss for CA.. and Pragmista.. I am not sure you unbderstand what happened.. ALL eggs in shells no matter where they come from.. if they are "imported" to the new country of California.. land of the animals rights vegan cultists they must be "up to snuff".. but really what is this all about M-O-N-E-Y.. for the HSUS.. they will be the new "checkers' to make sure your eggs are from happy chickens...salmonella will rise among egg producers.. free range chickens lay thier eggs in excrement.. egg shells are porous.. Pacelle is WRONG when he says cage free eggs are 'safer'.. but because he is the mouthpiece for what most people believe is a government agency the "Humane Society of the Untied States" he gets some credence.. Pacelle does not care if eggs are a million dollars.. He does not eat them.. nor dairy products ( next on the CA chopping block).. or meat.. (already going downhill in CA.). The HSUS has NOTHING to do with the government.. except of course the huge checks they give legislators to sway them.. they are a LOBBYING organization only.. that is about as close to being a government agency as they get..
Friends Don't let Friends Donate to the HSUS..

Call us wackos all you want- the people with more than an ounce of empathy have spoken.It's funny, people buy fast food probably every day of the week, spend money on electronics, clothes, cars, vacations and other useless crap--but they're all up in arms about a raise in egg prices! Grow up. Start thinking about the welfare of other creatures for once.

From a state that has already banned Projection Televisions, Plastic bags and Incandescent lightbulbs...Is this story really shocking to you?

LOL! This is one more reason why CA is in economic dire straights. Laws that are STUPID.

This law was passed based upon emotion and not science. 1. Furnished Cage chickens live longer stress free lives producing safe healthy uncracked eggs at a lower price. Studies in Europe and Taiwan and Latin America show that free roaming chickens die quicker produce smaller eggs that are more often cracked and subject to diseases. Now they know that the chemical content of the free roaming chicken egg carries the chemical pollutants found in the soil. So all of California that has been sprayed during the fires to control burn will find they are now eating petroleum products in their eggs. These contaminants are cancer causing agents. HSUS and the animal rights radicals know this as they intend to end the eating of any animal product. Their leader Peter Singer in the New York times has suggested that we become the last generation of human beings and give this planet over to the animals. This is where California is going based upon the emotional appeal that animals don't even care about. I have raised Chickens for my own use and these animals prefer to stay in their boxes if you put the food their for them. They have brains the size of a pea and they will kill each other at the drop of a hat. Now Californians have reduced their brains to the size of a pea by putting emotionalism based on what they see in a Disney movie before their own biological needs. Know that animal rights was invented by Hitler to turn the German people against the Jews. Know that the animal rights people use this philosophy to turn you against your own species. Celebrities jump on the bandwagon without reading the real facts. California has sold its soul to the devil and taken the animals down to hell. Every law passed by animal rights activists is intended to reduce your ability to have or use animals. Notice how the nazis come to your home now to check on your pets and take your money. Why does the HSUS need automatic weaponry and why are they allowed to make laws that the citizens don't want. Because stupid anti human celebrities send them money and their fans follow. If you want to help animals give to your local shelter but don't give to HSUS, PeTA as these groups want all humans to die off.

Why would a chicken want to lie down and fully extend it's wings? Birds don't do that. Typical urban personification of animals adding idiotic irrational hoops to our farming companies and existing state regulators, who actually understand animal behavior. Shows what damage a few propaganda commercials can do in a state with the ballot initiative and emotional morons acting as instant caring poultry professionals. Watch, now more birds will injure themselves because of the inappropriatly large cages.

This bill just makes egg producers in California less competitive compared to producers in other states and other origins. This is the type bill that drives our food production to other states and countries. Such a change as this should be done on an international level, not the state level, or we are just driving our farmers out of state or out of business, and hurting California's economy.

These types of regulations are a part of why our state economy is in the shape it's in now. Consumers should vote with their purchase at the supermarket, buying from producers that they know meet the standards they want (such as organic, or free range), but not via a proposition like this at the state level.

My god, this is supposed to improve the life of hens? If you buy eggs from chicken held under these circumstances in my country you are sure to be considered cruel to chicken..

A good friend of mine who is an actress, has worked very hard to encourage Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign new legislation (AB1437, an extension of Proposition 2), which requires all eggs sold in California to meet strict new requirements for hen cages. That restriction now applies to eggs sold in Califronia, but that are produce outside the state as well. Those new requirements demand that all eggs sold in California after 2015, must be from hens raised in cages that are large enough for the hens to stand up, lie down and extend their wings.

To me this sounds like a very worthy and humane cause and I posted some of the following observations on the associated costs on my actress friends Facebook page:

I found this (link following) study from UC Davis (in California) on the costs associated with "caged" vs. "barn" vs. "free range".


In one of the articles I read, it said that the increase would be about a penny per egg. Which doesn't seem like much to me. Especially to see the humane treatment of farm animals. But after reading the study, I think that was just a journalists hyperbole.

The additional costs are due mostly to the additional land required, as well as additional labor, loss of eggs due to the less restricted environment, additional litter and medication needed for non-caged hens.

I’m not sure at this point what would be considered “humane” in the context of the bill passed by Governor Schwarzenegger, and how that may vary between barn-raised and free-range – as I have not read the specifics of the bill. However, the additional cost for barn-raised eggs is estimated to be a 27.2% increase in costs, and for free-range eggs that increase is estimated to be 68.8%.

These are substantial increases in costs. And they also do not account for other factors, such as the subsequent changes in behavior by both those who produce eggs and those who use them. No matter whether it is consumers who buy eggs from the grocery store, or manufacturers who use eggs to produce other products such as bread, cakes pasta and numerous other egg-based products - as each groups behavior changes relative to the additional cost of eggs, this will also naturally have an impact on the price and availability of eggs as well.

To think this legislation could in some way reduce the price of eggs, or increase the availability of eggs of course, would be a very dubious assumption. But is it worth the cost and will hens be better of for the effort? Those are questions that need to be answered.

One thing in particular that I found to be somewhat short-sighted in the study, was an assumption of the increases in land costs. The increase in land costs seems to assume that future land will be obtained at the same price as the current land costs. And that may not be the case. The land costs for caged hens is .13 cents per dozen eggs. The land costs for barn eggs is $1.00 and the cost for free-range eggs is .87 cents. This amounts to a 769% increase for barn eggs over caged, and a 669% increase in costs for free-range eggs. But, this also assumes that the additional land required to maintain current productivity can simply be obtained or expanded without any additional costs – as if increasing the size of your chicken farm from 6 acres to 36 acres would be such an easy thing to do. There are other considerations that this study does not take into account such as:

1. Is the land next door (for easy expansion) available for purchase?
2. How much does it cost to move a chicken farm to a larger location?
3. Is the cost of the land needed, available at the same price?
4. How much can you sell the existing chicken farm for?
5. Do you need to sell one before you can purchase the other?
6. and the list goes on…

These are all important questions that need to be addressed before simply arriving at a figure for the single most expensive cost of producing eggs. Land.

The answer of course is that most chicken farms will not move. They will either produce less eggs in the given space available or they will be forced to convert their land to more productive uses. And chicken farmers who do not currently make significant profits from their eggs already, will be forced to convert their land to other more financially productive uses or quit altogether.

Maybe this is also why Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, who introduced the legislation, received campaign contributions from the largest egg producer in California - Sunrise Farms of Petaluma. How convenient!

It follows too that what will happen then is that the portion of egg producers that do not make substantial profits to offset the additional costs, but still wish to produce eggs, will have to either relocate or start new farms in areas where:

a) the same restrictions have less economic impact
b) where there are exists no humane requirements.
c) the lack of compliance for raising eggs can be hidden

Eggs are also a product that have many alternate uses in other products as well. So while this is certainly a very worthy pursuit in the ethical treatment of farm animals, it will likely come at a substantial cost as other products produced in California that will now be forced to purchase eggs at a substantial increase in cost, will subsequently be forced to raise the prices of those products to offset the new costs. I think the price of eggs themselves, may at least double or triple and this increase will have a significant impact on the price of bread, cakes, cookies, pasta and other products that use eggs.

What may happen of course is that you will see more use of powdered egg products used in the manufacture of the various egg-based products we see at the supermarket, as manufacturers seek ways to reduce costs. Powdered eggs may be able to be produced in other locations or imported from foreign producers and will thus hide the treatment of the hens who layed those eggs that went into the manufacture of that powered egg product.

Unfortunately, that won’t stop the inhumane treatment of hens, except here in California where we are more apt to see it though the media. As the market for egg products produced in other areas, or perhaps even foreign locations grows, it will increase the number of hens being maltreated in those places that don’t have the same humane and ethical standards and where egg production must currently compete with egg production from the Golden State. California as an egg producer, will lose that competitive edge in the market, while a few California producers will have simply succeeded in eliminating thier competition within the state. And done so, at the cost of and to the detriment of, the entire state.

What the net effect will be to hens as a “class” in total of course, could be - in fact, probably will be - entirely different than what happens to them here in California. As the opportunity to start a successful egg farm in a location that does not have the new requirements California does, then more hens in those locations will be maltreated than were before. And if they can produce egg products at lower costs, then you may even see egg-based food production of cakes, cookie, pasta, etc., that currently occurs in California move to those other locations where their products can be made at less cost.

In the end, this could not only force California consumers to pay a much higher price for eggs and egg-based products, it could also cost California workers desperately needed jobs.

Is it worth it? Only the future can say for sure.

In many ways though, we here in the United States do set a certain standard of ethical human behavior in the world. We are an example. It’s also one of the many reasons we have so many immigrants seeking to come here by any means available.

That is a virtue I believe we need to cling to, because it is the right thing to do. But let’s hope that when we make those decisions, we don’t inadvertently do more harm to those we often work so hard to protect, by putting the chicken before the egg.

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