Measure could send egg industry packing, study says
By Reed Fujii
Record Staff Writer
July 23, 2008 6:00 AM
Proposition 2, a ballot initiative that aims to provide egg-laying hens in California room to move, more likely would force the state's $300million egg industry to move out of the state or out of business entirely if approved, a University of California, Davis, study suggests.
Proponents, however, argue that the measure on the November ballot will lead instead to widespread reform of egg-production practices.
Proposition 2 would establish a state law requiring that certain confined farm animals be allowed enough space to extend their limbs or wings fully, lie down, stand up and turn around. Laying hens would have to have space to spread their wings without touching the sides of the cage or other hens.
That would practically eliminate the current practice of confining laying hens to small cages, raising the cost of production 20 percent or more, and require the industry to invest about $500million in new housing for the chickens, said Daniel Sumner, co-author of the study released Tuesday and director of the Agricultural Issues Center at UC Davis.
Those are expenses state egg producers can't absorb while remaining competitive, he said. Read More
The egg industry will no doubt be very seriously harmed economically if Proposition 2 passes in California. While proponents argue that it didn’t happen in Arizona with the approval of Prop 204, the size of the industry that it affected in Arizona was much, much smaller. It will affect a $300 million dollar industry in California that will no longer be able to compete.