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- Egg farmers filed suit in Fresno County Superior Court seeking a determination that Proposition 2 – a law regulating egg-laying hen enclosures - is unconstitutionally vague.
"While we know that Proposition 2 does not require California egg farms to be cage-free, the law is very ambiguous and provides no clarity as to what is required to comply with Proposition 2," said Dale Stern, attorney for ACEF. He added, "With the law taking effect in just over two years, egg farmers cannot afford to wait any longer to begin construction on new hen enclosures but their dilemma is making a multi-million dollar investment in new housing systems that could end up being considered illegal. The California Attorney General has been unwilling or unable to take a position on this key point. The State Department of Food and Agriculture commissioned a study at the University of California at Davis which concluded that the law is unclear. As a result, ACEF has no choice but to reluctantly seek invalidation of this poorly drafted proposition."
If California egg farmers decide it is easier to relocate to another state to produce eggs rather than risk trying to comply with an uncertain law and be found in violation, a reduction in locally-produced eggs will have many ramifications for California consumers. Not only will egg prices to consumers substantially increase, but jobs will be lost, adding to increased costs to taxpayers for required social services. There will also be more truck traffic on roads to transport eggs from other states, further adding to pollution and impacted roadways.
Said ACEF's Riebli, "Unfortunately, consumers need to realize that the availability of safe, fresh California eggs may no longer exist in the very near future. We filed this lawsuit because without some clarity, many California egg farmers are now being forced to rethink their plans to operate in California in the years ahead."