A recent law that says eggs being sold in the state of California must come from chickens that are not kept in cages may sound like good news for health-conscious California residents and animal activists, but it could cause problems for farmers in other states. The law will not go in effect until 2015, but many farmers are already challenging it.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Missouri chicken farmers and claims that the law infringes on the rights of these farmers. He also accused California law makers of interfering with interstate commerce.
"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," Koster said.
The California egg law was made to protect both people and the chickens. Many people, including the California Humane Society, believe that it is cruel to make chickens live in small cages and pens while being used for their eggs. Letting these chicken run free will give them a better quality of life and even improve the quality of eggs they produce.
Eggs that are laid by chicken in cages are much more likely to contain salmonella. They are also smaller than free range chicken eggs.
The California egg law ballot initiative was approved by voters in 2008 and farmers have until 2015 to comply with the law and allow their chickens more room to live. The law does not only affect chickens, it also applies to pigs and calves. It states that the animals must have enough room to lay down, turn around and stretch out their appendages.
Farmers who do not comply with the law will not be able to sell their eggs in the state of California.
Do you think the California egg law is unfair to farmers in other states or should they have to follow this law as well?
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