As a chicken farmer, I cannot condone the cruel way in which egg-laying hens are kept in battery cages. Each chicken lives it whole egg-laying life in a space equivalent to 2/3 of a sheet of letter paper. This is barely enough room to hold the chicken. The chicken can just move from the front of the cage to eat to the back to drink. This system was developed in response to the need to produce a lot of food as cheaply as possible after the Second World War. The farmers and university researchers came up with this system without any need to consider the welfare of the animal.
The time has come to give the chickens space to move and stretch their wings. The very basic Certified Humane Standards outlined in Prop 2 call for 1.25 square feet per bird. That is the equivalent of 2 sheets of letter paper.
Can this be done? The egg industry already produces cage-free eggs, which sell for about 70 cents more per dozen. The economists who work for these large corporations have published a report that say it costs about 12 cents a dozen extra to get the chickens out of cages. I believe this is a small price to pay.
Cage-free flocks now live healthier lives in houses on slated floors or in multi-layered apiaries in Europe. The latter gives a high density of chickens per house, while still giving the chickens their space. Chickens in cages not only have no space but have to be fed daily doses of antibiotics just to survive. They have to be de-beaked.
The California Egg Industry says they will be put out of business by this law, which would not come into effect until 2015. This is a scare tactic, I believe that they will adapt and find ways to comply.
For more information go to www.yesonprop2.com