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Deal forged, chicken cage ballot initiatives dropped in Washington and Oregon

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July 8, 2011

By Bailey Ludlam

Oregon and Washington: A day prior to the Washington 2011 petition deadline on July 8, proponents of a chicken cage initiative in Washington and Oregon announced that their efforts had been dropped.

Efforts were dropped after the Humane Society of the United States made a national agreement with the egg industry on July 7, 2011.[1] "We're suspending the Washington and Oregon ballot measures and putting our energies into passing a federal law that would help hundreds of millions of birds as opposed to fewer than 10 million birds in Washington and Oregon," said Paul Shapiro, Humane Society spokesperson.[2]

According to reports, supporters of the Washington initiative collected an estimated 350,000 signatures, exceeding the minimum requirement. The measure would have adopted new rules for egg-laying hens in Washington.

A similar initiative in Oregon was also dropped in light of the national agreement. It would have mandated more room for egg-laying hens. Specifically, the measure would have required 1 1/2 square feet of space per hen by 2019.

Together with the United Egg Producers, the Humane Society plans to seek a bill based on the agreement. The proposed legislation includes: eliminating battery-style cages by 2029 across the nation; requiring that egg cartons be labeled with information about the living conditions of the hens.[3]

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