Eggs Farmers will have to pay their dues!
While it’s true that a federal judge in Sacramento rejected a lawsuit filed by egg farmers in six Midwestern states. It’s also true that she ruled that no such lawsuit could be revised and then filed again. That may sound pretty cut and dried, but many are wondering if there’s more to this. There is the issue of egg farmers paying out millions of dollars to get their cages ready for the mandate put forth in Proposition 2, which was passed in 2008 by voters in California. This is one issue the judge didn’t show any leniency with. Essentially, her ruling told egg farmers that if they wanted to profit from the huge egg market that is California, they’d have to pay their dues.
Egg producers going quietly into the night…I don’t think so.
But what about the other issue at stake here – the one riling up all six states in the lawsuit – Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky and Iowa? They all say Prop 2 is in violation of the commerce clause of the Constitution, which states one state cannot impose its egg laws on another. Even though the lawsuit received a big blow through the decision of U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller, you may not see these Midwest egg producers going quietly into the night.
The six states who filed the lawsuit have no plans to back down, saying they shouldn’t have to give up their smaller battery cages for egg laying hens and invest in larger housing quarters. They also don’t want to be banned from selling their eggs in California. Battery cages have seen a lot of criticism because they don’t allow egg laying hens much room to move around. Used around the country and world, housing systems such as these help farmers collect eggs and feed their hens. Proposition 2 came about because California voters thought farmers should increase their cage sizes in order to sell their wares in the state. The birds can get more comfortable, but this would present a large financial burden for egg farmers, who would have to pay out $385 million to comply, says The Global Fruit.
Attorneys general for those six states are just getting started
Despite the ruling, the attorneys general for those six states are just getting started. They promise they will not stop the fight when it comes to preserving the local agricultural industry’s integrity and Constitutional rights. This is in direct response to an amendment to Prop 2 made in 2010 that said all eggs sold in California must be laid by hens living in the larger cages. The plaintiffs argue that this was done just to protect the interests of California. Plus, they say, there’s been no clear evidence that housing chickens in slightly larger coops will do anything to decrease the prevalence of salmonella. This is one thing Prop 2 supporters have claimed from the beginning.
At its heart, the issue involves the question of whether California can legally impose its animal care standards on other states. While the lawsuit was thrown out, the matter is still boiling over.