Governor Kate Brown just signed legislation championed by The Humane Society of the United States requiring that eggs produced or sold in Oregon come from cage-free facilities by 2024, reducing suffering for 2–3 million birds each year. This victory comes on the heels of a similar confinement law for hens in Washington state, enacted in May.
Oregon’s new law means that the U.S. West Coast now has the strongest laws in the world for egg-laying hens. Last year Californians voted overwhelmingly for Prop 12, which bans intensive confinement in California for egg-laying hens, pigs used for breeding, and calves used for veal, as well as the sale of products in the state from intensively confined animals. Around 20 million hens are raised in the three states, so these new laws will have a huge impact.
While all hens used for eggs in factory farms suffer, cage confinement is particularly cruel. In cage facilities, each bird is forced to spend her life on floor space smaller than an iPad, leaving her without room to even spread her wings. The new laws in Oregon, Washington, and California will address this cruelty by prohibiting cages and requiring more space per bird, as well as mandating that hens be given some opportunity to exhibit more natural behaviors, with perches and areas for nesting, scratching, and dustbathing.
Although cage-free doesn’t mean cruelty-free, these laws will reduce suffering for millions of animals each year and hopefully inspire other states to pass similar ones.
If you’d like to be part of this progress, there are two simple but effective steps you can take right now. The first is to join Mercy For Animals’ Hen Heroes to receive one-minute actions for all our campaigns, with links to tweet, sign petitions, or send emails.
The second is to join the campaign asking McDonald’s to adopt less-cruel standards for chickens raised for meat in its supply chain. Sign the petition here, and find more ways to get involved here.
Congratulations to Oregon on this important step!