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'Vegan Lobby' and Chickens Celebrate Victory for Battery Cage Sizes


If you're an egg-laying hen, you'll probably want to look at moving to California by the end of 2014. That's because California's egg law goes into effect next year, expanding battery cage sizes for chickens.

Voters passed the law, known as Proposition 2, in 2008. It requires that cages for veal calves, pregnant sows and egg-laying chickens allow the animals "to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely, reports SFGate. But it almost didn't happen.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who "represents the top egg-producing state," according to the Los Angeles Times, appealed to the Republican-led House to include in its farm bill, "a measure to prohibit a state from interfering with another state’s production of agricultural products." King claimed the California law was essentially, "infringing on Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce by imposing conditions on farmers who want to sell eggs in the nation’s most populous state." But Congress rejected King's efforts to stop the legislation.

King targeted the bill because it would also require eggs coming into California from other states to adhere to the rules as well. He marginalized the measure as nonsense coming from the "vegan lobby," despite the support from the agricultural community. After farmers articulated fears that to account for the new cage configurations there could be a cost increase for California eggs—driving up demand for out-of-state eggs—the legislation was amended to require all eggs sold in the state adhere to the rules.

The Times reports that Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, called the King measure "a radical overreaching amendment."

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From the Organic Authority Files

"Over time, an enormous coalition was built against it," Pacelle said.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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