After six years of conversion time, January 1 marks the day laying chickens, veal calves, and pregnant sows in California cages and pens must be given enough space to stretch their wings and legs and be able to lie down.
Proposition 2, which mandates humane confinement of caged animals, passed in 2008 by 64 percent of California voters, and in 47 of the state’s 58 counties, but egg producers, worried that out-of-state vendors would undercut their prices, persuaded lawmakers to adopt AB 1437, which states all eggs sold in the state must come from hens in large cages, including eggs from out of state. That bill passed the State Senate and Assembly handily, and then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed it into law in 2010.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, food providers Aramark and Sodexo have already converted to using only cage-free shell eggs, as have large food producers Unilever, Nestlé, Marriott, and Burger King. The group also announced that Starbucks has pledged to sell only products made with cage-free eggs, including its pastries, after January 1. Starbucks has about 12,000 outlets in the U.S.