Breaking news: Colorado becomes seventh U.S. state to ban cages for egg-laying hens

By on July 1, 2020 with 13 Comments

Colorado has just banned cages for egg-laying chickens and will require that eggs produced and sold in the state be cage-free. The bill, which passed both chambers of the state legislature in June, was signed moments ago by Gov. Jared Polis. The new law will spare approximately six million chickens each year from being locked for most of their lives in tiny wire cages where they cannot even spread their wings.

This is yet another striking victory in our campaign to eradicate cruel cage confinement for farm animals. Colorado is the seventh state to pass a cage-free law in the past four years, building on previous successes we led in Michigan, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, California and Rhode Island.

In April, we told you about another huge milestone, when the egg industry nationwide became more than 26% cage-free. (It was around 5% cage-free just six years ago before we began our campaigns.)

A big reason for this change, in addition to our state legislative campaigns, has been our work with the nation’s—and the world’s—biggest food corporations committing to go cage-free. We are now pushing these U.S.-based companies to fulfill their commitments with our Food Industry Scorecard that measures the progress made by each of the companies toward their cage-free goal. Our affiliate, Humane Society International, will soon be releasing a similar tool for companies around the world.

We bring a strong sense of urgency to this work because caged egg-laying chickens are among the most abused animals on earth. The cages they are confined in are so small the birds can’t express their natural behavior, such as running, exploring or extending their wings. While there are additional issues in commercial egg production that cage-free conditions don’t necessarily address (such as beak trimming, force-molting and the killing of day-old male chicks), the freedom of movement and ability to express behavioral needs improves the hens’ quality of life significantly compared to being in cages.

The new law in Colorado requires cage-free conditions, more space per bird, and also mandates enrichments that are crucial to the hens’ psychological and physical well-being, including perches, nest boxes, scratching areas and dust-bathing areas.

We are grateful to those who worked with us to secure passage of this important law, including fellow animal advocates, concerned members of the agriculture community, bill sponsors Rep. Dylan Roberts and Sen. Kerry Donovan, legislators from both parties, and Gov. Polis. This victory, coming as it does at a time when state legislatures have been shut down for extended periods due to the coronavirus pandemic, is especially remarkable. We promise to keep up the momentum until no hen has to endure the misery of life in a cage anywhere in our country—or in the rest of the world.

Farm Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. Patricia Sharkey says:

    Thank you, we need to show kindness and compassion to all living things!

  2. Marie Kelly says:

    I just KNEW 🇺🇸❤️👍 Thst Governor Polis would be great when I voted gor him!! 🐔 THANK 🐔 YOU 🐔 Governor Polis!!!

  3. Kate Gulliver says:

    When does go into effect?

  4. Lisa Denton says:

    So glad they banned cages for egg laying chickens! That would be a horrible life to live😔 I have chickens and they are not just egg laying chickens they are my pets❤️ Thank You Governor Jared Polis!

  5. Sylvia Moreschini says:

    Great news! Thanks to all that had a part getting this done❤️

  6. Johanna irby says:

    Great news Thank you Governor Polis

  7. Susan Harris says:

    This is great news. Progress is being made!

  8. Tiina Earley says:

    Fantastic…every state should follow do same!

  9. Jacqueline says:

    Make sure they are not crowded on top of each other with no room for wing spread but the cage door is open!?

  10. Freda Tressel says:

    This is great news, now if we can get the rest of the country to do the same. All animals have the right to be free , even on a farm.

  11. Paul Friedley says:

    Another great reason to be proud of being a Coloradan! Good job Polis!!

  12. Gerald de Benetti says:

    I regularly watch an agricultural/food production program out of Quebec called La Semaine Vert. It compared egg-laying hens raised in caged enclosures to those that were cage-free . The levels of biologic aerosols(bacteria, viruses and fragmented non-living organics) were much higher in the cage-free environments. This poses a risk to the workers for airborne infections or developing lung problems. The study looked at ways to reduce these levels. Utilising a spray (? oil-based) that keeps the floor cover material down when walked upon improves greatly the air quality. Another factor affecting the levels is humidity, lower humidity is better. All workers shown were wearing masks as an additional level of protection.

    I have a rudimentary understanding of French (so details of program may not be quite right) but I love this show as it gives so much information and can be quite illuminating and inspiring. I buy local eggs from small farms, free range and organic at the grocers.

    Thank you for doing this work to get the bill passed. I believe that this could open the door for other states and in Ontario where I live . Cheers !

  13. Papaj says:

    I really appreciate the state raising the price of eggs. I am a small farmer trying to make a little money with chickens and selling eggs. My chickens are true “free range” which means I get probably 20% less eggs. Why! They hide the eggs in remote nests. I think they just get busy and forget to lay an egg. When it rains out they track mud into the nest which really makes washing eggs a challenge. Also last year the coyotes (who also have rights) killed over half of my egg layers.

    As you can see my egg production costs are very high. Because large egg producers will now face similar challenges I can see eggs at $25 a dozen and then one of two things will happen. I can make a decent amount of money OR people will but steak for their protein and I will go broke!

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