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Opposition to Proposition 12


Proposed California Proposition 12 can be regarded as a successor to Proposition 2 enacted by ballot in 2008 by a two-to-one majority.  The wording of Proposition 2 as adopted was vague and the interpretation was subject to extensive litigation. Various courts in California have however ruled on the constitutionality of Proposition 2. 


To establish a level playing field for in-state producers who have a 25 cent per dozen disadvantage in feed cost against the Midwest, the California legislature enacted AB1437 effective January 2015 which required that eggs shipped to the state would have to be derived from hens housed under conditions conforming to regulations issued by the California Department of Agriculture and Food complying with Proposition 2.  The policies of California regarding minimum space requirements have been successively challenged by the Attorneys General of Midwest egg-producing states supplying California, claiming that the California statute restricts interstate commerce and is therefore ultra vires. The courts have yet to rule on the issue but adverse decisions handed down were based on technicalities establishing that the Plaintiffs had no standing in their attempt to overturn the California legislation.


The Association of California Egg Farmers is opposing Proposition 12 claiming:


  • The wording is ambiguous and lacks details
  • The Proposition is unnecessary for egg production and unenforceable for meat production
  • The Proposition will increase the cost of eggs to consumers.
    It is estimated that egg producers in California have spent in excess of $250 million to comply with Proposition 2.  In the short term to provide adequate space, partitions in conventional cages were removed to reduce stocking density but at the expense of farm capacity.  Individual producers have erected housing which complies with Proposition 2 and presumably Proposition 12 in the form of multi-tier aviary units and floor housing on either slats or litter.
    Irrespective of whether or not the Association of California Egg Farmers opposes Proposition 12, the outcome is predictable and the Proposition will effectively achieve what was intended with Proposition 2, namely the elimination of confined cage housing.