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Mercy For Animals applauds Michigan’s new cage-free law

New law also requires cage-free conditions for pigs and calves, goes into effect 2024.

22 November 2019, at 12:00am

Today Michigan enacted into law Senate bill 174, which requires all eggs sold in Michigan to come from hens raised in cage-free conditions by 2024. The law also requires Michigan farmers to raise pigs, hens, and calves without cages. This legislation is estimated to impact no less than 10 million egg-laying hens and preserves protections for hundreds of thousands of pigs and calves each year.

California, Washington, and Oregon have recently enacted similar laws, and other states are considering such legislation. More than 300 companies, including McDonald’s, Walmart, and Kroger, have committed to sourcing exclusively cage-free eggs.

The Michigan legislation strengthens a law passed by the state legislature more than 10 years ago that banned restrictive cages for farmed animals by 2020. Once at risk of repeal, the law now includes enrichment requirements for hens, including scratching and dustbathing areas, perches, and nest boxes. In addition, the law shaves off a full year from the 2025 enforcement date of last session’s version of the legislation, which outgoing governor Rick Snyder vetoed in January.

Mercy For Animals, The Humane Society of the United States, World Animal Protection, Animal Equality, and other organisations formed the coalition that drove this legislation’s success.

Extreme confinement of farmed animals is widely condemned by veterinarians and the animal welfare community. In the United States, most egg-laying hens suffer in battery cages, which are so small the birds are unable to spread their wings, for up to two years. For virtually their entire lives, breeding sows endure crates so narrow the animals cannot turn around, and calves raised for veal are confined in crates for four months.

“Thanks to Michigan lawmakers, millions of animals each year will suffer less,” said Leah Garcés, president of Mercy For Animals. “No animal, whether a hen or a dog or a pig, deserves to be locked up in a cage for months or years on end. We applaud Michigan leadership for its support of this critical animal protection legislation.”