UCR Veterinary Entomology

Six states lose appeal on California egg law

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Six states lose appeal on California egg law

By Alec Gerry | November 23, 2016


California’s 2015 egg law does not interfere with interstate commerce, a federal court ruled.

On November 17, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled six states challenging the law – Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky and Iowa – didn’t have the legal right to challenge the law that prohibits the sale of eggs from chickens not raised in accordance to the state’s welfare standards.

The Associate Press reported the states argued California’s law would force farms to either stop selling eggs to the state or spend hundreds of millions of dollars complying with the standard. Ninth Circuit Judge Susan Graber said that argument did not give the states the legal foundation to sue.

Bay City News reported the judges said private egg producers, those alleged effected by the law, should be filing suit instead of the states. The judges also rejected the argument the California law discriminated against citizens of other states.

After a 2008 ballot initiative and approval by the California Legislature in 2010, California’s Proposition 2 layer welfare standards went into effect in 2015. The legal challenge was filed in 2014. The appeals court’s decision upholds a lower court’s ruling on the same matter, but does not prevent future litigation on the issue.

In 2015, the law’s effect was a major issue for the egg industry. Now, the shifting consumer attitude toward layer welfare is driving the U.S. egg industry to rapidly adopt cage-free housing.

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