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End to Battery Cages in California from 2015

by 5m Editor
14 July 2010, at 12:43a.m.

CALIFORNIA, US - Governor Schwarzenegger has signed a landmark egg bill into law, which will ban battery cages for laying hens from January 2015.

On 6 July, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed landmark legislation that protects animal welfare and food safety, reports the Humane Society of the US (HSUS). The new law requires that shelled (whole) eggs sold in California comply with the modest but important food safety and animal welfare standards of Proposition 2 (Prop 2). Passed in a 2008 landslide, Prop 2 phases out production of eggs from hens in cages.

The bill, A.B. 1437, requires that all whole eggs sold in California as of 1 January 2015, come from hens able to stand up, fully extend their limbs, lie down and spread their wings without touching each other or the sides of their enclosure, thus requiring cage-free conditions for the birds.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of HSUS, commented: "By signing this bill, Governor Schwarzenegger has taken an important step in protecting animal welfare in a way that will also improve food safety for consumers across California. 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."

A.B. 1437 passed the Assembly by a vote of 65 to nine and the Senate by a vote of 23 to seven. The HSUS praised Assemblymember, Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), the author of the legislation, for shepherding A.B. 1437 to passage in the Assembly, and Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez (D-Shafter) who managed the bill in the Senate. Co-authors of the legislation include Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) and Assemblymembers Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto), Cathleen Galgiani (D-Tracy), Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara) and Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana). As a state senator, Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado was also a cosponsor of the legislation.

Supporters of the legislation include the ASPCA, Sierra Club California, Planning and Conservation League, Center for Food Safety, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Bon Appétit Management Company and dozens of other organisations.

A.B. 1437 follows on the heels of the landslide passage of Prop 2, the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act. Nearly 64 per cent of California voters passed Prop 2, which got more votes than any citizen initiative in California history. Prop 2 goes into effect at the same time as A.B. 1437.