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Unrealistic Bill to House Hens Introduced into NY Legislature

10/24/2020

New York Assembly member Linda Rosenthal has introduced Bill 11,041 into the 2019-2020 Session, to enforce cage-free housing in New York state.  Apart from the usual provisions, most recently voted on in California as Proposition 12, conforming to UEP standards, Rosenthal also requires hens to have “unlimited access to the outdoors” with her bill taking effect in 2022.

 

Based on the unrealistic requirement for outside access and the limited time period for conversion, it is expected that the Agriculture Committee of the New York Assembly will reject the proposed legislation.  As a compromise, a California Proposition 12-type bill may be enacted.

The bill is justified by erroneously conflating Salmonella with cage housing. This presumption is factually incorrect as all commercial flocks, the majority of which are caged housed in New York state comply with the FDA Final Rule on Salmonella Prevention and are therefore free of SE. 

 

USDA estimated the New York hen population at 5.3 million in 2019, approximately 1.6% of the total U.S. laying hen population.  Since Bill 11,041 would require eggs produced and sold in New York state to confirm to the standards as established, only cage-free eggs would be eligible for interstate introduction even if the outside access requirement was eliminated.


Linda Rosenthal