retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The vagaries of the legislative process have come home to roost for California egg producers, the Wall Street Journal reports this morning. Here’s how the paper frames the story:

“About 150,000 hens at egg producer J.S. West Inc. appear to have scored an upgrade.

“They cluck and cackle in an air-conditioned henhouse that got a $3.2 million renovation this year. Some lay eggs in nesting areas, where lights are dimmed. Others poise on perches with room to flap their wings. They even have hen-style nail files in their cages.

“Two years after California voters approved a law designed to create humane standards for farm animals, it isn't clear if these hens are leading lives of luxury - or being treated cruelly.

“The law, known as Proposition 2, doesn't take effect until 2015, but it is already generating confusion among egg producers who aren't sure if they need to get bigger cages like those at J.S. West or let the hens roam free. As a result, few have made any changes at all.

“The law mandates that egg-laying hens must be able to fully extend their limbs, lie down and turn in a circle within their enclosures. Michigan approved similar regulations last year, and gave egg producers 10 years to make changes. Other states - including Ohio, Arizona and Florida - have adopted less restrictive regulations. The California requirements have proven resistant to uniform interpretation.”
KC's View:
Two things occur to me as I read this story.

One is that I’m glad I’m in my business, not the egg business.

The second thing is that in my first apartment I wasn’t really able to fully extend my limbs, lie down and turn in a circle. It never occurred to me that I needed a legislative solution...