July 15, 2009

 

 California advances bill putting standards on imported eggs

posted July 1, 2009
 

Capitalizing on the success of Proposition 2, which mandated major changes in housing standards for California's egg-laying hens, the state Assembly in May passed legislation requiring all eggs sold in California to meet those same standards.

Voters overwhelmingly passed the Standards for Confining Farm Animals ballot initiative this past November (see JAVMA, Dec. 1, 2008, page 1665). As a result, California producers will have to adopt more spacious livestock housing systems by 2015.

Egg-laying hens, for instance, must have enough room to fully spread both wings without touching the side of an enclosure or another hen.

Prop 2 applies only to eggs produced in California, but Assembly Member Jared Huffman's bill—A.B. 1437—is more sweeping in that it affects all eggs sold in the state come 2015.

"The voters spoke pretty loudly to me and everyone else. I think we need to listen," the Associated Press quotes Huffman as saying about his bill, which passed 65-12.

At press time in June, the state Senate was considering the legislation.

California is the nation's fifth largest egg-producing state, according to the American Egg Board.

Also in the California Legislature, a Senate committee rejected a proposal that would have authorized school districts to make every effort to purchase poultry and meat products from animals that had not received nontherapeutic antimicrobials.

The original version of the bill would have also instituted a ban on nontherapeutic use of antimicrobials in animals raised for human consumption by 2015. Yet, even a heavily revised version of the legislation failed to muster enough votes to move to the full Senate.