Oklahoma, Four Other States Join Lawsuit Challenging California Egg Production RestrictionsThu, 06 Mar 2014 14:30:52 CST
Attorneys general for five states have joined the state of Missouri in its lawsuit challenging egg production standards in California. The original suit was filed Feb. 3 in U.S. District Court in Fresno, Calif. The states of Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska and Oklahoma joined the suit seeking to bar implementation of new regulations regarding cage sizes for egg-laying hens.
The six states combined produce more than 20 billion eggs per year and sell about ten percent of their production in California.
The regulations on cage size are the result of a 2008 ballot initiative called Proposition 2 that was heavily promoted by the Humane Society of the United States. Some agricultural groups say the initiative was an attempt by HSUS to harm animal agriculture producers.
Lawmakers in California adopted legislation in 2010 requiring all eggs sold in the state to be produced using the same standards.
The lawsuit maintains that producers in states outside California will be forced to spend massive amounts of money to bring their farms into compliance with California standards or face the prospect of being shut out of one of the nation's largest markets.
Iowa is the leading egg producer in the United states, producing 14.4 billion eggs each year. Iowa exports more eggs to California than to any other state.
Iowa farmers alone would be faced with scrapping 51 million cages that currently do not meet California standards.
The amended lawsuit says the intent of the law was not to protect the public health of California consumers, but to force out-of-state egg producers to incur the same costs imposed on California farmers by Proposition 2.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said he welcomed the five states who joined his lawsuit. "This case is not just about farming practices. At stake is whether elected officials in one state may regulate the practices of another state's citizens, who cannot vote them out of office."
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