While Prop 2 banned extreme confinement of hens, it did not ban the sale of eggs from hens in extreme confinement. To give the fullest effect to Prop 2's humane and food safety aims, we worked with the California legislature to pass AB 1437, a law to extend Prop 2's standards to apply to all shell eggs sold in the state. Both Prop 2 and AB 1437 gave producers years to improve their operations (they are both set to come into effect at the start of 2015).
Yet rather than improving conditions for their hens, some egg producers chose to wait and then litigate. Earlier this year, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster sued in federal court to try to strike down California's AB 1437. Five other attorneys general and governors from major agricultural states-Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska and Oklahoma-followed Koster's lead and signed on. They alleged that California had no right to set even basic animal welfare standards for the eggs sold in its state.
We immediately saw this as an existential threat to farm animal welfare everywhere: if factory farming states could strike down California's basic farm animal welfare standards, they could effectively stop any state from protecting farm animals. So our animal protection litigation team joined with pro bono attorneys from Latham and Watkins and Schiff Hardin topetition the court to let us intervene in the case alongside California. The court, recognizing our unique interest in protecting Prop 2 and AB 1437, granted that request.