Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak just signed a bill into law making Nevada the ninth state to ban the sale of eggs that come from hens in cages. The measure also bans the cage confinement of egg-laying hens in the state.
Most hens used in the egg industry are confined to barren, wire cages called battery cages that are so small the birds can’t even spread their wings. A hen confined in a typical cage used by the egg industry has roughly the size of an iPad on which to live her life.
Nevada’s law also mandates enrichments which give hens the ability to engage in vital natural behavior like perching, scratching, dust bathing and laying eggs in a nest. Nevada is the most recent battleground in our campaign to end the suffering of chickens. In recent years, we have successfully fought to secure passage of laws outlawing battery cages in Utah, Colorado, Michigan, Washington, Oregon, California, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
We are particularly grateful for the leadership of bill sponsor Assemblyman Howard Watts. Assemblyman Watts spoke passionately about his own experience with chickens in committee hearings and legislative proceedings. In sharing his first-hand knowledge of hens’ ability to feel pain and suffer, Watts was persuasive in urging fellow lawmakers to take action to protect them. We also appreciate the commitment of diverse stakeholders — including animal welfare groups, the agricultural community and retailers — who came together to find common ground on this bill.
In addition to our legislative campaigns, we’re working tirelessly on the corporate level to ensure that no egg-laying hen knows the misery of spending her whole life in a tiny cage. We’ve waged successful campaigns to persuade more than 200 of the country’s largest food companies to adopt cage-free policies. In recent years, the HSUS has been holding these companies accountable to meet their upcoming cage-free deadlines and pressing them to follow through on their promises. We have successfully worked closely with companies like Taco Bell, Aramark, Nestle USA and Mondelēz International to secure their commitment to purchase exclusively cage-free eggs. And we recently called out IHOP’s parent company for lagging on its promise to phase out battery cages and for breaking its promise to stop sourcing pork from pigs confined to gestation crates.
Humane Society International has also been working to change the status quo for egg-laying hens in countries across the world. As a member of the International Coalition for Animal Welfare, the official body of animal protection organizations recognized by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), HSI has been a leader in the ongoing effort to move toward more progressive, detailed standards for egg-laying hens, and is a consistent voice opposing the industry forces pushing in the opposite direction.
When the HSUS began its cage-free campaign in 2005, only a small number of egg industry hens lived in cage-free environments. Now, with victories like today’s, that figure is just over 30%. That translates to nearly 100 million cage-free hens, which is roughly equivalent to the human population of California, Texas, Florida and New York combined.
This is the latest bill in Nevada that represents progress for animals. Earlier this month, the governor signed SB344, which will prohibit public contact with certain captive wild animals in Nevada, and SB103, a landmark law will expand the availability of property insurance and remove housing barriers by prohibiting insurance companies in Nevada from creating policy exclusions or placing limitations on coverage based on the breed of a family’s dog.
We are thrilled about today’s bill passage, and excited that it represents another step in the momentum for a cage-free future. We’re celebrating Nevada’s new law as we vow to keep pressing for legislation and corporate policies to ban the extreme confinement of farm animals.