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California egg law challenged by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster

California egg law
California egg law
Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images

A California egg law regulating the living conditions of the chickens, has been challenged by the Missouri attorney general, according to a Feb. 5 Fox News report. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Fresno, Calif. to strike down the law prohibiting eggs from being in the California if they do not come from hens raised in cages consistent with California’s size and space requirements. The slaw is slated to take effect in 2015.

According to Attorney General Koster, the law infringes on interstate commerce by imposing new requirements on out-of-state farmers. “If California legislators are permitted to mandate the size of chicken coops on Missouri farms, they may just as easily demand that Missouri soybeans be harvested by hand or that Missouri corn be transported by solar-powered trucks,” Koster said.

News Max reports that the Humane Society of the United States, which was instrumental in enacting the law, told the Associated Press that the California egg law protects the state’s residents. Jennifer Fearing, the Humane Society’s California senior director opined that eggs produced from hens in “battery cages” have higher risks of salmonella contamination. She added, “Attorney General Koster's lawsuit targeting California's laws, filed just to curry favor with big agribusiness, threatens state laws across the country dealing with agriculture and food safety.”

For Missouri, it is all about maintaining business. Missouri farmers reportedly provide approximately 540 million eggs annual for its California consumers, the Kansas City Star reports. As far as California state residents are concerned, the California egg law is great. They agreed in a 2008 ballot initiative that hens and other animals should be raised with enough space to live – stretch, lie, turn around and fully extend their limbs, News Max reports. In 2010, the state’s legislators expanded the law to its current form to allow a competitive playing field for California farmers.