The Future of Battery Cages
Although Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Austria have already banned battery cages, with the entire European Union following in 2012, only two measures in the United States have been successful beyond the city level. In November, 2008, California overwhelmingly passed The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act; it will phase out the use of battery cages, in addition to gestation crates and veal crates, by 2015. In 2009, Michigan legislature passed a ban on battery cages that included a 10 year phase out.
Legislative Action and Litigation:
Various states have proposed bills to mandate that laying hens have enough room in their cages to spread their wings, but they have met with strong opposition from the egg industry. Such laws would force the discontinued use of battery cages in those states. The Humane Society of the United States also filed suit in California to prevent factory farmers who purchase battery cages from receiving tax breaks.
Nationally, grocery chains such as Whole Foods Market, Wild Oats Natural, and Trader Joe's have worked to convert their egg products to cage-free. Other corporations such as Burger King, Ben & Jerry's, and Finagle A Bagel are moving away from eggs obtained from the use of battery cages. Also, companies such as AOL and Google use only cage-free eggs in their employee cafeterias and more than 150 American colleges and universities have enacted policies to decrease their use of eggs from battery-caged hens.
Radlo Foods, a major egg producer and supplier, has committed to phasing out battery cages for egg-laying hens over a ten-year period. Many corporate successes followed. To see a timeline of progress on farm animal protection issues, visit The Humane Society's website