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Oregon Governor Signs Landmark Legislation Protecting Egg Laying Hens

Brianna Santellan / Unsplash

Oregon Governor Kate Brown recently signed into law a bill banning the use of cages in egg production in the state. This means that all egg producers will have to go cage free by 2024.

In the next few years, every egg and product containing eggs in Oregon will have to come from cage free hens. The new law requires hens have room to move around and stretch their wings instead of being confined to cages with less room than a standard sheet of paper. The law passed without much opposition from farmers in the state. Josh Balk is with the Humane Society of the United States. He says that consumer habits have helped to change the minds of those resistant.

"Our county overall has moved in a much better direction where, collectively now: producers, humane organizations and legislators together are working to improve the welfare of these animals."

This law is now the strongest in the nation in protecting hens. It’s on par with a new law that passed in Washington just last month and slightly stronger than California laws. The Pacific Egg and Poultry Association, a trade group representing egg producers, couldn’t be reached for comment. Balk says animal welfare is an issue that people from all political parties are in agreement about and hopes to see more movement in other states.

CORRECTION August 14th, 2019: In a previous version of this report we said that the law would take effect in 2023. The law goes into effect on January 1st, 2024.