Washington State Signs Historic Law Ending Cages for Hens

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has just signed a new law that phases out the production and sale of eggs from caged hens, regardless of where the eggs were produced.

THE DETAILS: The law, which is the strongest of its kind passed by any state legislature, will benefit roughly eight million hens each year by banning cage confinement by the end of 2023. The measure follows a similar initiative passed by California, also ending confinement for animals in the state.

BACKGROUND: Typically in facilities where cages are used for egg production, each hen only has about the size of a letter-sized piece of paper to live on. By eliminating the use of cages, this measure will significantly reduce the birds’ suffering. The law also requires that hens be provided with necessary enrichments, including areas to scratch, perch, nest and dust bathe.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING: “In Washington, we partnered with Democratic and Republican legislators, key stakeholders in the agricultural sector, and other leading animal protection groups to ensure the bill’s success,” said President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States Kitty Block in a recent blog post. “It is a remarkable illustration of how good people in all walks of life can come together to create lasting and transformational change for animals.”

WHAT COMES NEXT: This is certainly a monumental day, and laws like the ones adopted in California and Washington are definitely needed to reduce the suffering of millions of animals across the country. However, there is still much more work to do to make sure we end the cruel practices of factory farms.