- - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Large majorities of both Republican and Democratic California voters passed the new farm animal protection law that just took effect this month, and they were right to do it (“Breaking eggs in California,” Web, Jan. 7).

Many egg producers want to overcrowd egg-laying hens in cramped cages, but such a practice has hidden costs, namely increased animal cruelty and food safety risks. In fact numerous studies confirm that cage-free henhouses tend to have less salmonella incidences than cage confinement henhouses. And the egg industry’s own economic analysis shows that it costs producers less than a penny per egg more to go cage-free than to keep birds locked in cages.

Egg prices fluctuate during the year and always rise in winter. While the costs for all animal products have increased this year due to high grain prices, egg prices have actually increased less than prices for beef and pork.

California voters of all political stripes should be applauded for putting the chicken before the egg and requiring these basic animal welfare and food safety improvements.

PAUL SHAPIRO

Vice president, farm animal protection

The Humane Society of the United States

Washington

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