Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a landmark legislation on Tuesday that protects animal welfare and food safety. The new law requires that shelled (whole) eggs sold in California comply with the modest but important food safety and animal welfare standards of Proposition 2. Passed in a 2008 landslide, Prop 2 phases out production of eggs from hens crammed into cages.
The bill, A.B. 1437, requires that all whole eggs sold in California as of Jan. 1, 2015, come from hens able to stand up, fully extend their limbs, lie down and spread their wings without touching each other or the sides of their enclosure, thus requiring cage-free conditions for the birds.
“By signing this bill, Governor Schwarzenegger has taken an important step in protecting animal welfare in a way that will also improve food safety for consumers across California,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “Californians have made it clear that they don’t want unsafe eggs from hens crammed into cages, and we applaud the Legislature and governor for heeding this call.”
Supporters of the legislation include the ASPCA, Sierra Club California, Planning and Conservation League, Center for Food Safety, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Bon Appétit Management Company and dozens of other organizations.
A.B. 1437 follows on the heels of the landslide passage of Prop 2, the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act. Nearly 64 percent of California voters passed Prop 2, which got more votes than any citizen initiative in California history. Prop 2 goes into effect at the same time as A.B. 1437.