Poultry farm to accelerate cage-free transition

by MEAT+POULTRY Staff
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Hens at Gemperle Family Farms
Gemperle Family Farms plans to finish the conversion a year earlier than originally planned.
 
TURLOCK, Calif. – As animal welfare groups work toward an outright ban on food animal cage confinement in California, one egg producer is hastening the transition to cage-free egg production.

Stanislaus County, California-based Gemperle Family Farms announced that the firm’s conversion to 100 percent cage-free egg production will be accelerated and completed by 2023. The company previously had committed to completing the conversion by 2024 in an announcement last year. All barns at Gemperle Farms, including fully enriched colony barns, will be converted to cage-free aviary and open barn productions. A significant portion of the conversion already has been completed in the past decade, according to the company.

“A great majority of our food retail, food manufacturing, and food service and hospitality customers have committed to using 100 percent cage free by 2025,” said Steve Gemperle, president. “Our conversion timeline of 2023 completion puts us two years ahead of most of our customer commitments.”

Currently, California egg producers are required to meet production standards regarding the size of enclosures housing egg-laying hens as mandated by Proposition 2, which voters passed in 2008. The law bars California farmers from using some agricultural production methods that are in widespread use in the agriculture industry.

But in August, a coalition of animal welfare groups, including The Humane Society of the United States, said the law didn’t go far enough, and announced a ballot initiative that would ban cage confinement and prohibit sales of products derived from cage confinement.

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