Oregon Caged Hens Measure (2012)
|Not on Ballot|
| This measure did not or |
will not appear on a ballot
The proposed initiative 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. At the time the initiative was filed, an estimated 67 square inches were allotted to each hen.
The initiative was dropped after the Humane Society of the United States made a national agreement with the egg industry on July 7, 2011. "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. 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.
A similar proposal, Senate Bill 805, was sent to the Gov. John Kitzhaber in early June 2011. The bill, sponsored by Senate President Peter Courtney, required Oregon farmers to use an "enriched colony-cage system." The system doubled or in some cases tripled the space for each hen. According to reports, the bill was supported by the Oregon Humane Society, not by the Humane Society of the United States. The bill was signed on June 17, 2011.
The main proponent was a group called Oregonians for Humane Farms. This included support by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), ASPCA and the Center for Food Safety. The measure is also supported by Farm Sanctuary. HSUS and Farm Sanctuary were supporters of a similar measure in the State of Washington - Initiative 1130.
Path to the ballot
- See also: Oregon signature requirements
In order to qualify for the ballot, supporters were required to collect a minimum of 87,213 valid signatures by July 6, 2012. However, first supporters had to collect 1,000 signatures in order to qualify for a ballot title.
- The Oregonian, "Measure to mandate more room for egg-laying hens may end up on 2012 Oregon ballot," April 25, 2011
- The Seattle Times, "Backers cancel initiative to give chickens better living," July 7, 2011
- KUOW, "Deal Suspends Chicken Cage Ballot Measures," July 7, 2011
- The Register-Guard, "Egg farmers, animal rights group forge pact," July 8, 2011
- Statesman Journal, "Egg-laying hens get added room in bill," June 6, 2011
- Oregon Public Broadcasting, "Oregon Chickens May Soon Get Bigger Digs," June 6, 2011
- Farm Sanctuary, "Ballot Initiative to Prevent Farm Animal Cruelty Launched in Oregon ," April 29, 2011