Number of States with restrictions on egg-laying hen confinement is small but growing
In 2008, California passed Proposition 2, a ballot measure that banned in-State egg-laying operations from housing laying hens in a way that made them unable to fully extend their limbs or turn around freely. Since then, eight more States have passed similar bans on confinement or caged production of laying hens. In addition, Ohio imposed a suspension on new permits for caged-layer operations. Many of these bans are scheduled to take effect between 2023 and 2026. Before 2022, fewer than 5 percent of egg-laying hens were raised in States with implemented restrictions on confined or caged production, but that number is expected to surpass 13 percent by 2026. Based on average 2002–17 Census of Agriculture values for egg-laying operations, about 3 percent of operations in 2021 were covered by confinement or caged production restrictions, but coverage will grow more than sixfold by 2026. Despite the increasing coverage of State bans in the U.S. egg-laying flock, as many as 85 percent of operations in the United States (representing 87 percent of total U.S. egg production) would still legally be allowed to produce using these cage systems after 2026. This chart was drawn from the USDA, Economic Research Service report, State Policies for Farm Animal Welfare in Production Practices of U.S. Livestock and Poultry Industries: An Overview, December 2022.
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