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New Mexico Considering Cage-Free Legislation

02/16/2021

State Senator Pete Campos (D-Las Vegas) has introduced Bill 347 designated the Confinement of Egg-Laying Hens Act in to the New Mexico Senate. Observers question whether the proposed Campos “feel good” legislation has any prospect of passing out of Committee.

 

The state of New Mexico has no egg production facilities larger than 3,000 hens but the Bill if enacted, would place restrictions on introduction of eggs from other states that do not conform to cage-free standards, presumed to follow the UEP guidelines. The proposed legislation is supported by an activist organization, Animal Protection of New Mexico that has taken its cue from Colorado.

 

The Bill has engendered opposition including from the Farm and Livestock Bureau of the State with Chad Smith, CEO stating, “We are a state of poverty and when you pass legislation like this, you’re going to eliminate choices for consumers and you’re going to drive up the cost of this high protein item.”  Tiffany Rivera, Governmental Affairs Director of the Las Cruces New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau stated, “There is a discrepancy in prices at the grocery store for cage-free eggs versus conventional eggs, but in a poor state like New Mexico, that’s one of the largest concerns that we have, because people look to eggs as an affordable source of protein.

 

Smith noted, “It’s troublesome to see these out-of-state interests come into New Mexico and try to tell New Mexicans how they’re going to produce the food, fiber and fuel that we rely on.”   Questioning whether producers had intention of establishing operations in New Mexico he said, “I don’t know if they’re anticipating opening up here in New Mexico — we have no idea.”