Prop 2 could translate to higher costs for a carton of eggs
You’ve no doubt heard lots of buzz about Proposition 2 and eggs. What does this mean for you? The exact toll on egg prices remains to be seen, but many say Prop 2 could translate to higher costs for a carton of eggs once you hit the grocery store come January 1, 2015. First, a little review. Prop 2, passed by voters many years ago in 2008, is ruffling feathers near and far because the deadline for compliance is fast approaching. Basically, by January of next year, egg farmers will have to comply with the laws of the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, which specifies that the cages for egg-laying hens must double in size. This Act isn’t just for chickens, by the way, it also covers pigs and cows. But that’s not what’s getting all the attention.
Proponents of Prop 2 say kudos
Proponents of Prop 2 say kudos to California voters for choosing to prohibit what is considered in the industry as cruel confinement for chickens, who are crammed into tiny cages with no room to stretch their legs or even turn around. What does this lead to? Muscle atrophy and bone deterioration for starters. Egg-laying hens who are confined in this way all day every day are even believed to go insane over time. Animal rights activists, veterinarians and even many farmers see the value in expanding space for the humane treatment of animals.
Will likely put local egg farmers in the poor house
However, opponents of Prop 2 – and there are many – say that this mandate will likely put local egg farmers in the poor house. The problem is, farmers in other states who rely on exporting their eggs to California will have to comply with the law to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. Doubling cage space isn’t cheap. That cost will be passed on to consumers who will have to bear the extra cost of buying eggs in the state.
Conservative estimates on price increases say that egg prices could go up but a few cents per dozen, while others say perhaps a penny an egg. Still other analysts say the cost could rise as much as 20 percent per carton, or even nearly double the price of local eggs produced in California. The consumers most affected by this change will be large households where eggs are the staple in the family’s diet. It’s a matter of supply and demand: many say that when the egg supply goes down, the egg prices have nowhere to go but up. Fueled by the increase in production costs of 20 percent or more, as well as labor costs, your price tag when buying eggs at the market will likely be reflective of these increased costs. Only time will tell what the exact cost will be. In fact, it could start out OK but increase over time, or the prices could flare up right out of the gate, then retract once everything settles down. Till then, many famers are hard at work getting their cages into compliance for the January 1 deadline.