Six years ago, more than 8 million Californians voted for Proposition 2, which told the egg industry loud and clear that eggs laid in the state could not be produced by cramming hens into metal cages so small that the birds don’t even have room to extend their wings. (Seventy percent of Santa Barbara County voted for Prop. 2, evidence of this community’s commitment to humane farming practices.) Then two years later, the Legislature passed AB 1437, which said that if extreme confinement practice is unacceptable in the state, then it is unacceptable outside the state, as well, and required companies to only sell cage-free eggs here. In the four years since, many companies like Nestlé and Burger King have announced transitions to exclusively cage-free eggs, much to the delight of California’s conscientious consumers. However, a few retailers have been lollygagging and, as a result of their own miscalculated decisions, may face problems when the sales ban on caged eggs takes effect in January.
Consumers are what make a difference. When California, the world’s seventh largest economy, bans animal products based on cruelty, the industry will have to take notice.