California egg farmers have filed a lawsuit against the state, saying a law regulating egg-laying hen enclosures is unconstitutionally vague. Sabrina Hill reports.
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The lawsuit was filed by the the Association of California Egg Farmers (ACEF), and claims the law lacks clarity about the size and density requirements, thus preventing egg farmers from modifying their housing facilities before the law goes into effect January first, 2015. The lawsuit was filed in Nov. 19, in the Fresno County Superior Court. It stems from the passage of Proposition 2 in 2008, which was authored by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
The HSUS claims the law requires at least 200 square inches of enclosure space per bird, however the organization will not explain how they came up with that interpretation of the law. ACEF has worked with the HSUS to establish national standards on egg laying hen enclosures. ACEF contends the new law will require housing systems of 116 square inches per bird. Conventional cages are 67 square inches.
Arnie Riebli, President of ACEF said consumers are the ones who will lose in the long run. “Unfortunately, consumers need to realize that the availability of safe, fresh California eggs may no longer exist in the very near future,” Riebli said. “We filed this lawsuit because without some clarity, many California egg farmers are now being forced to rethink their plans to operate in California in the years ahead.”
The Association of California Egg Farmers (ACEF) is a statewide trade association representing California’s egg farmers. ACEF serves as the voice for the egg farmer and the state’s egg industry, which produces approximately 5 billion eggs per year with approximately 20 million laying hens.