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Campaign to change law for hens in Washington State

News Section Icon Published 07/02/2011

Compassion in World Farming is delighted to support a new campaign to outlaw barren battery cages in the US state of Washington.

The proposed "Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act" is likely to go to vote in November 2011.

Washingtonians for Humane Farms tell us that in Washington state, around six million laying hens are in battery cages. The miserable conditions of barren confinement in a cage fail to meet hens' fundamental physical and psychological needs.

As drafted, the proposed law would give producers until 2018 to shift to more humane practices.

Michigan and California have already passed laws to phase out the use of cages to confine hens, and similar legislation is pending in other states. California also passed a law requiring that all whole eggs sold statewide be cage-free by 2015.

Many of Washington's restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals, and schools have joined the national movement away from serving consumers eggs from caged hens. Additionally, a US poultry industry economist reported that it costs less than one cent per egg to transition from battery cage systems to cage-free housing.

The relevant wording of the proposed legislation reads as follows:


  1. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a farm owner or operator shall not knowingly confine an egg-laying hen in:

    (a) A manner that prevents the hen from turning around freely, lying down, standing up, or fully extending her wings; or

    (b) A cage that is stacked or otherwise placed on top of or below another cage confining one or more egg-laying hens

  2. A person shall not knowingly sell or offer for sale any shell egg for human consumption that is the product of an egg-laying hen confined in a manner contrary to the prohibitions of subsection (1) of this section

Compassion congratulates the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for their tireless efforts to raise standards for farm animals across the United States of America.

The EU situation

Compassion is currently working hard to ensure the EU ban on barren battery cages is enforced by 1st January 2012. The ban is currently under threat and you can make a difference in protecting this landmark legislation.

Find out why the ban is under threat and take action.


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