Coastal Cage Free Victories

Oregon and Washington recently joined California in passing laws to ban the use of cruel battery cages to confine egg-laying hens. Twenty million hens in these three states, as a consequence, will be free from stacked tiers of barren cages that are so small that hens cannot even spread their wings. Furthermore, the statutes cover eggs sold in the state (the California law covers all shelled eggs sold in the state, the Washington and Oregon laws cover all eggs and egg products sold in the state). Out-of-state producers who want to maintain a foothold in these vast markets, therefore, will have to improve conditions for their hens, too. Both Oregon’s and Washington’s laws also require environmental enrichment, including scratch pads, nests, perches, and even dust-bathing areas. According to US Department of Agriculture data, 20.3 percent of all commercial egg-laying hens in the United States are now living in cage-free housing systems—a twofold increase since 2016. 

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