I'm excited to share with you breaking news from California: a federal appeals court has upheld Prop 2, California's new law banning the inhumane confinement of egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and veal calves in cages so small the animals cannot stretch their limbs, lie down, or turn around. The court rejected an egg producer's argument that Prop 2 is vague, ruling that any "person of reasonable intelligence" could understand the law.
This is the fifth court ruling favoring the proponents of Prop 2 and its companion law, AB 1437, which bans the sale of eggs in California from hens kept in such inhumane conditions. Previously, the district court had upheld Prop 2 in this same case, ruling that it "does not require the investigative acumen of Columbo" to apply the standards. And last October a federal district court rejected a challenge to AB 1437 from six large agribusiness states, finding that the states were improperly suing on behalf of private special interests.
With today's ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, it's time for retailers and egg producers to stop litigating, and start complying with the law. Prop 2 imposes clear animal welfare and food safety requirements, requiring plainly that hens have enough space to perform basic natural behaviors. We've said from the start that the only economically viable systems to allow these performance standards for hens are cage-free ones. Many companies, including Trader Joe's, are almost certainly selling eggs from hens in cages, and that violates the law.