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Cage-free hen houses for egg sales in California

California found egg on its face when six states sued to sell eggs there laid by hens housed in ordinary chicken coops.
California found egg on its face when six states sued to sell eggs there laid by hens housed in ordinary chicken coops.Wikimedia Commons

California found egg on its face when six states sued the Golden State for passing a law that imposes undue burdens on interstate commerce. The Wall Street Journal describes the California laws requiring that no eggs laid by hens housed in small cages could be sold in the state.

California growers, of course, bore the burden of cage-free hens for producing eggs sold in within the state since the 2008 passage of Proposition 2. But the states of Missouri, Alabama, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Nebraska would not tolerate California’s ban of their eggs born by chickens raised in ordinary chicken housing.

Californians -- being used to wiles of eco-nonsense -- are primed to pay the 20% higher price for eggs laid by legally mandated homeless hens outside state borders. Not so for six other states, all pointing less to the poor chickens' cooped quarters than to the unconstitutionality of the California state law that discriminated against out-of-state chicken farmers.

California decried the small chicken cages, claiming that salmonella prevails in such hen houses. A study of both regular and roomy cages by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and North Carolina State University researchers says there’s no such prevalence. That argument was immediately clucked out of consideration. Only California could make such stuff up.

While the six suing states are likely to win their argument in court, thus enabling out-of-state-egg sales in California, California’s home-laid produce may wind up too costly for in-state purchase. Such environmental extremism only leaves embarrassing egg on the face of once admirable California.