One of several new laws signed by Lt. Gov. Gavin Gilchrist on Thursday will require all Michigan egg production facilities to adopt cage-free practices, and will ban the use of battery cages and the sale of non-cage-free eggs in the state by the end of 2024.
The signing of Senate Bill 174, an amendment to the Animal Industry Act, will make Michigan one of five states that have banned non-cage-free egg production, including California, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington. Of the five cage-free states, Michigan is the largest producer of eggs.
“Michigan is known for having one of the most diverse agricultural and farming industries in the nation,” Gilchrist said in a statement. “Signing this bill is the right thing to do. This will ensure that our standards are amongst the strongest in the nation when it comes to protecting animal welfare while ensuring that egg producers are able to continue to thrive.”
The Michigan law outlines new housing facility requirements for egg-laying hens, including scratching areas, perches, nest boxes, and dust-bathing areas, in addition to adequate light and ventilation. If not for the amendment, hens would be confined to a 1-square-foot enclosure starting in April due to a preexisting law.
According to the Humane Society, less than 3 percent of the U.S. egg industry had adopted cage-free practices in the mid-2000s. As of 2019, more than 20 percent of the country is cage-free.
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