Clarification lawsuit filed regarding California's Proposition 2
J.S. West & Co., a commercial egg producer, has filed a lawsuit in Fresno County Superior Court seeking clarification on exactly what type of hen housing is acceptable under Proposition 2. Proposition 2 is set to take effect on January 1, 2015.
According to the lawsuit, Proposition 2 does not define how much space is required to allow for the behaviors it says must be available to farm animals (lying, sitting down, standing up, turning around, fully extending limbs without touching another animal) and does not ban cages for hens, but Proposition 2's sponsor (the Humane Society of the United States) is saying that Proposition 2 does ban cages for hens.
The egg industry has set 67-87 square inches per hen as its space standard for how much space each hen should have. In 2010, J.S. West opened a colony housing system for hens. This colony housing system was the first such hen housing concept to be built in the United States. It provides 116 square inches per hen. J.S. West asserted that its colony housing system is "Proposition 2 compliant." The Humane Society of the United States then said that the colony housing system was not Proposition 2 complaint and that in fact, Proposition 2 is "crystal clear" in its requirement that hens must be housed in "cage-free environments."