The assault on egg farmers didn’t stop there. In 2010, California
passed AB 1437, extending the reach of Proposition 2 to other states
by requiring that any shell egg imported into California must follow
these standards as well. Predictably, HSUS was the major financial
and political support behind that bill as well.
AB 1437 aims to regulate U.S. Commerce by dictating food production
standards of an item sold and imported into the state. In theory,
this is unconstitutional, as such regulations can only be handled by
the federal government. In actuality, California bypassed such
restrictions on its governance and has, so far, been able to get
away with it.
Six states’ attorneys general (Missouri, Oklahoma, Alabama,
Nebraska, Iowa, Kentucky) filed a lawsuit against California,
challenging AB 1437’s constitutionality by arguing that it violated
Commerce and Supremacy clauses. Unfortunately, a federal judge in
Sacramento tossed the suit under the claim that the economic harm is
not enough of a hindrance to provoke intervention. Such a shaky
ruling with an illogical basis is intolerable and unfair to U.S.
citizens, and thus is continuing to be reviewed by the attorneys
These bills survived the legislative and judicial processes. They
take effect and we will see the differences fairly quickly. Wayne
Pacelle and his fellow HSUS executives couldn’t be happier about the
results. Their investment of millions of dollars to get the bills
passed was not in vain. These bills were their babies that they
nurtured and developed in hopes of influencing further states down
California has over 39 million consumers and only 19 million egg
laying chickens. They don’t rely solely on their own farmers for
eggs. Imports from around the country are essential, and the
disruption of the market would cause many egg producers to look to
supply elsewhere. The state’s consumers will suffer when prices
Those national egg producers that choose to comply with the new cage
requirements in order to continue trade with California will have to
go through costly transitions, which some are estimating at $385
million or more initially, in new housing and business alterations.
Basically, they would need to adjust their prices accordingly with a
rise in overhead costs. This is where the nation’s egg consumers
feel the burden.
The producers suffer from the aforementioned costs, as well as a
large reduction in chickens. Larger cages mean less space, which
means less room to house chickens. Therefore, most producers that
comply would need to limit their flocks. The
estimates that would mean the loss of 10 million egg laying
chickens, 3.3% of the country’s total.
A sharp decline in production will follow. California’s egg farmers
will produce less as a result of tougher restrictions and costly
implementation of enriched cage requirements. The National
Association of Egg Farmers’ spokesman
“Just the sheer cost of doing that puts it beyond the reach of many
farmers that I represent. They just can’t afford to make those kinds
Promar International Study predicts that up to 95% of California’s
egg industry output could be sacrificed, resulting in hundreds of
jobs lost in agribusiness. During a time when California’s
population is at an all-time high and the number of job seekers
continues to rise, the damage could be catastrophic.
All these factors should’ve been considered when these bills were
crafted, but they were not. The U.S. economy is in a delicate
position right now with job numbers growing following a long period
of unrest, but a major disruption such as this could throw things
into a state of chaos.
There are examples of how similar bills have affected other
countries. Cage requirements were passed several years ago in Europe
and were fully implemented by 2012. It initially cost producers
approximately 354 million Euros (roughly $500 million U.S. dollars).
During that first year, Europe’s overall contribution to the global
egg supply slipped by 2% total, including 4% in the U.K. Farmers
there have already had to deal with shutdowns as their way of life
is destroyed, and Europe has suffered from food shortages and
Making matters worse, Proposition 2 and AB 1437 will not improve the
“health” egg-laying hens. The current cages had already been
scientifically proven to be healthy for chickens. The space afforded
from new enriched cages will expose them to a variety of
including disease, bone breaks, parasites, cannibalism, and an
increased risk of predatory attacks.
It doesn’t help the egg producers, egg consumers, or even the
chickens it is supposedly meant to protect. Surely it should be more
environmentally friendly for the Californians who have clamored for
Experts project that the new cage systems will require more land,
feed, and energy, and will result in lower air quality. Additional
transportation costs resulting from higher levels of egg imports
into the state adds significantly to the carbon footprint.
The impacts of California’s war on egg farmers will be felt across
California is an important state for legislation. It’s an influencer
among the governing bodies of the states. With a population of
nearly 40 million (almost 12 million more than the next closest
state), it controls a large portion of U.S. House seats and has 17
more electoral votes than any other state.
When a bill is introduced in California’s state legislature, this is
seen as a proving ground for the bill’s nationwide legitimacy.
Successful bills will soon find their way to other states. The most
harmful bills among those are the viruses that infect states’
rights. California’s largely liberal population wants to be viewed
as the early adopters of important social justice measures, and they
see “animal rights” as a vital piece of that puzzle.
HSUS often backs legislation that will help its animal rights
agenda. We’ve seen that recently with the egg bills and also with
its ban on lead ammunition, which was argued to be toxic to the
blood levels of the California condor, although that information was
proven to be
falsified before the vote on the bill.
Because of its size and relevance to other states, most legislation
in California will certainly find a way to affect the rest of the
country. Proposition 2 and AB 1437 will overextend those who can’t
afford to pay higher prices on a food item that is essential to
their lives, the hardworking producers of eggs who are seeing their
way of life constantly threatened by legal attacks, and the U.S.
economy as a whole.
The national economic impact will be massive. California’s
Department of Food & Agriculture reports that the overall impact on
states shipping eggs into California is $150 million annually on top
of the $648 million in the state alone. The University of
California, Davis’ Agriculture Issues Center
initially estimated an
overall economic activity loss (factoring in economic ripple effect)
of $370 million a year after implementation. The costs would be
passed on to all U.S. consumers, who could see a 25% rise in prices
cost them $2.66 billion annually.
The only people helped by these bills are the radical animals rights
movement led by the Humane Society of the United States. Is it any
wonder why HSUS contributes millions to state House races in
California every election period? They seem to be getting their
However, all hope is not lost. We can continue to fight this
dangerous legislation. You can support the legislators and
government officials in your state who oppose these requirements,
including the attorneys general who filed the initial lawsuit
against California. Encourage them to persevere in their pursuit of
a full repeal of AB 1437. Please call them, send letters, whatever
form of communication you can manage, and tell them we can support
both our families and animals by ridding the country of this bad egg
Raids the Nation's Henhouses
| December 23, 2014
Starting on Jan. 1, every egg sold in California will have
to come from hens that have enough space to lie down, stand
up, spread their wings, and move freely. The state’s
Department of Food and Agriculture says that means each bird
needs at least 116 square inches of living space in its
coop—a 73 percent increase from the industry standard of 67
square inches per bird , or less than a sheet of letter
California is the fifth-biggest egg producer in the U.S.,
but it’s No. 1 in egg consumption. Almost a third of the
eggs sold there come from out-of-state farms, and chicken
farmers across the country are rushing to modify cages or go
cage-free so they can continue selling in California. Jim
Dean, the chief executive officer of Iowa’s Centrum Valley
Farms, says he’s culled the flock at one facility to 800,000
birds from 1.5 million to relieve crowding. In June,
California inspectors certified his business to continue
selling in the state. “You’ll see new construction happen to
be California-compliant,” Dean says.
Photographer: Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science
Monitor via Getty Images
Caged birds in a chicken house built decades ago at an egg
farm in San Diego.
the effect animal-rights groups were hoping for when they
put Proposition 2 on the state ballot in 2008. The measure,
which passed with 64 percent of the vote, applied only to
in-state egg producers, but a subsequent state law expanded
it to cover eggs produced elsewhere. “It’s hard for an Iowa
producer or an Indiana producer to say, ‘Well, I want to
sell my eggs in California, but I don’t want to play by
California rules,’ ” says Wayne Pacelle, head of the Humane
Society of the U.S., a leading supporter of the new
Chickens come before
eggs in California case
Reid Wilson October 7, 2014
An interstate feud over chicken coops ended with a federal judge
last week siding with a California law that seeks to force producers
to provide humane living spaces for egg-laying hens.
U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller dismissed a lawsuit
Thursday brought by Missouri and five other states that sought to
overturn the California law, passed in 2010, that requires all eggs
sold in the Golden State to come from chickens that are treated
humanely. The California law requires chickens to be kept in coops
big enough for them to stand up, lie down and extend their wings.
White Leghorn egg-laying chickens in cages in
their hen house. (istockphoto)
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster (D) filed suit against
California this year, arguing that it ran afoul of the U.S.
Constitution’s interstate commerce clause because it would have
imposed new and costly regulations on out-of-state producers. Koster
said the law would require Missouri farmers to spend upwards of $120
million to build new facilities to comply with the law.
“California has placed restrictions on the sale or transfer of a
commodity based on production methods that have nothing to do with
the health or safety of California consumers,” Koster said when he
filed suit. “If California legislators are permitted to mandate the
size of chicken coops on Missouri farms, they may just as easily
demand that Missouri soybeans be harvested by hand or that Missouri
corn be transported by solar-powered trucks.”
Attorneys general in Alabama, Kentucky, Iowa, Nebraska and Oklahoma
joined Missouri in seeking relief.
But Mueller was unconvinced that the law would do actual harm to
citizens in those states. She tossed the case because the states
lacked standing to sue California over a law she said would harm
only a small subset of egg producers who export their eggs to
The California law came from a 2008 ballot initiative that required
animals, not just chickens, to be treated humanely. Proposition 2,
which passed with 63 percent of the vote, mandated healthier
treatment for calves, hens and pigs.
California egg producers worried that the law meant they would be at
a disadvantage when competing with out-of-state producers that
weren’t subject to the same rules. The state legislature passed a
companion bill in 2010, signed into law by then-Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger (R), that required those out-of-state producers to
uphold the same standards.
Feb 23 2011
HSUS Plays Chicken with Whole Foods
Meet Miyun Park. She’s a former Vice President for Farm
Animal Welfare at the Humane Society of the United States.
In 2009, Park’s résumé landed her a job as Executive
Director of the Global Animal Partnership (GAP), the
organization administering a new 5-tier animal-welfare
rating system recently unveiled by Whole Foods Market. (To
see GAP’s tax returns, click here.)
To judge from glowing media reports of the new meat, dairy,
and egg labeling scheme, Miyun Park sits at the nexus of the
animal-welfare mainstream and America’s foodie elites. But
Park and GAP aren’t exactly what they seem.
GAP is beginning to show signs of a legitimate vegan
takeover, led by Park—who, as the farm-animal VP at HSUS,
was crystal clear about her desire to eliminate as much
livestock farming as she could.
October 10, 2014
HSUS Never Stops Begging for Money,
Even When You Leave
Labels such as "Cage Free," "Free Range," "Humane
Certified," "Grass Fed," "Organic," and "Local" make it seem
like those who are willing to pay a higher price can enjoy
eggs, dairy, and meat from small-scale "humane" farms that
treat animals with compassion and respect.
is the public being mislead?
MOB, H$U$ and the Black EGG
You will be blown away by the information in this article.
The Black Egg.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [1.1 MB]
We did two radio programs on H$U$ with Diane back in
2012. If you can't open the .pdf file above it is on the
archive page you can access with podcasts of the programs
Poultry Federation Headline News
A news service of the California
Poultry Federation, 4640 Spyres Way, Suite 4, Modesto, CA
95356 (209) 576-6355
If you have trouble viewing this e-mail please
Thursday, July 16, 2009
California Egg Farmers comments on withdrawal of egg bill
Debbie Murdock, Association of California Egg Farmers (ACEF)
executive director, issued the following statement today
regarding Assembly member Jared Huffman's withdrawal of AB
1437 from this year's legislative session. The proposed
legislation sought to level the playing field by applying
Prop. 2 mandates to eggs produced out-of-state. “The
Association of California Egg Farmers commends Assembly
member Huffman for authoring legislation that would ensure
California consumers' expectations for animal care and food
safety are met, no matter where the eggs are produced.
However, we have consistently stated that farmers first need
to know exactly how much space to provide an egg-laying hen
and what enclosure systems will comply with Proposition 2.”
<more> July 16, 2009 ACEF Press Release