Prop. 2 fallout: Must laying hens be cage free?
By ROBERT DIGITALE
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Sunday, June 21, 2009 at 8:22 p.m.
California egg farmers got trounced at the ballot box last year while opposing a state initiative that in six years will ban their chicken cages.
Now they are urging state legislators to spell out what confinement methods would be allowed for their laying hens.
Already, Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, is pushing a bill that would require out-of-state egg producers to comply with the hen confinement rules that California farmers will face under Proposition 2. As part of that legislation, the state’s egg producers are asking for clearer confinement rules.
The egg farmers say they need guidelines now that essentially spell out the minimum amount of space they must provide for each hen. They contend that the law doesn’t specifically outlaw all cage systems, and some farmers are seeking a hybrid arrangement that falls somewhere between the current cage and cage-free systems.
Arnie Riebli, a major egg producer in Petaluma and president of the Association of California Egg Farmers, said the farmers are willing to abide by the initiative. Nonetheless, he said, “there was nowhere in there that it said cage-free is the law of the land.”
However, leaders for the initiative’s main proponent, the Humane Society of the United States, accuse the egg farmers of double talk. During the campaign, the leaders said, the entire debate concerned whether to force the farmers to switch to cage-free operations. Read More
It’s pretty apparent that the HSUS is quite threatened by the fact that the egg laying business may continue in some fashion in California. You see, their goal is the elimination of the industry, not changing the housing systems. And you can tell that by the way their tone has changed since the election. It has become very combative and negative towards farmers being able to continue raising livestock for food. Anything less than killing this industry and forcing farmers off their land just won’t fit in with the HSUS vegan agenda.