I just got the very exciting news from California that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed A.B. 1437, a bill backed by The Humane Society of the United States that requires that starting in 2015 all shell (whole) eggs sold in California must come from hens who were able to stand up, lie down, turn around, and fully extend their limbs without touching one another or the sides of an enclosure. In other words: California will become a cage-free state.
Proposition 2, approved by voters in November 2008, phases out the extreme confinement of laying hens in cages by 2015. A.B. 1437 applies the standards contained within Prop 2 to the sale of shell eggs. With 40 million consumers in California, it would be hard to overestimate the potential of this bill to change the way laying hens are treated throughout the United States.
This victory comes just days after The HSUS brokered a deal with Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and the state's largest agriculture groups to impose a moratorium on new battery cage facilities in Ohio, the nation's second largest egg production state.
Change for animals subjected to intensive confinement is coming, and the victories this week are plain evidence of that.
On the California legislation, many thanks go to bill author Assemblyman Jared Huffman, to all of the other lawmakers who supported the legislation, to Gov. Schwarzenegger, and, most importantly, to the thousands of HSUS supporters who took action and urged elected officials to support this bill.
This post originally appeared on Pacelle's blog, A Humane Nation.