States join egg production lawsuit

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman and attorney general, Jon Bruning announced Nebraska will join a lawsuit challenging California's egg production law, Proposition 2. Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky and Oklahoma also have joined the lawsuit.

Heineman and Bruning announced the state's participation in the lawsuit during a news conference at the Governor's Ag Conference in Kearny, Neb. Nebraska is a leading producer of processed egg products.

In February, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of California arguing the law violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

Proposition 2, passed by ballot initiative in 2008, bars California farmers from using some agricultural production methods that are in widespread use in the agriculture industry. By 2015, California egg producers must meet production standards regarding the size of enclosures housing egg-laying hens. Koster said Missouri egg producers face millions in capital improvement costs to comply with Proposition 2.

Koster and others also have argued that the law sets a dangerous precedent that could allow California to impose similar requirements for other agricultural products. But The Humane Society of the United States, which supported the law, criticized the lawsuit saying it undermined animal welfare and states’ rights to establish standards for agricultural animal care.

“Producers from all of these states can sell into California, as long as they adhere to reasonable and safe animal husbandry practices,” said Chris Petersen, an Iowa pork producer and a member of the HSUS Iowa Agriculture Council. “California is not asking anything more of out-of-state farmers than in-state producers.”
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