By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
Posted Nov. 22, 2019
A bill signed into law by the Michigan Legislature requires all egg-laying hens in the state to be raised cage-free by December 2024.
The bi-partisan bill, which passed unanimously in both chambers of the legislature, makes it illegal for Michigan egg farmers to sell eggs from hens kept in cages.
“Signing this bill is the right thing to do. This will ensure that our standards are amongst the strongest in the nation when it comes to protecting animal welfare, while ensuring that egg producers are able to continue to thrive,” said Lt. Gov. Garland Gilchrist, who signed the bill on Nov. 21.
Michigan will be the fifth and largest egg producing state in the nation to adopt a cage free requirement, joining California, Washington, Oregon and Rhode Island.
“The package of bills not only address the provisions around egg-laying hens in the state, but it also provides the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development with key disease emergency response tools which are critical for protecting public and animal health,” said Gary McDowell, MDARD director. “I appreciate everyone who came to the table to develop policy that moves the state forward, supports Michigan’s farming community and helps protect public health.”
Officials with the Humane Society believe the law will improve the lives of countless animals in the state.
“We’re grateful for the tremendous work of the lieutenant governor’s office in advancing the treatment of egg-laying hens,” said Molly Tamulevich, Michigan State director of the Humane Society of the United States. “Switching to cage-free production methods will dramatically improve the lives of millions of animals per year.”
Michigan’s poultry industry says farmers across the state support the decision.
“Michigan’s family egg farmers applaud the Whitmer Administration for positioning Michigan as a national leader in cage free egg production. While consumers are demanding more cage-free eggs, it is Michigan’s law which will inspire greater integrity and transparency across the U.S. food system, and allow hard working farm families to continue for future generations,” said Allison Brink, executive director at Michigan Allied Poultry Industries.