Utah egg-laying hens to be cage-free by 2025 under signed bill

Local Politics

FILE – In this Oct. 21, 2015, file photo, cage-free chickens stand in a fenced pasture on the Francis Blake organic farm near Waukon, Iowa. The Agriculture Department on April 7 proposed stricter animal welfare standards for organic chicken and meat as the multi-billion dollar organic market grows each year. The rules would ensure that all livestock, including poultry, have enough space to lie down, turn around, stand up and fully stretch their limbs.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

(ABC4) – Utah’s egg-laying hens will be cage-free by 2025 under a new bill signed by Governor Spencer Cox.

Senate Bill 147 requires that, starting January 1, 2025, farm owners and operators in Utah will be prohibited “from confining egg-laying hens in an enclosure that is not a cafe-free housing system or that has less usable floor space per hen than required by specific industry guidelines.”

By signing SB 147 into law, egg-laying hens within an indoor environment as long as they have enough room under the United Egg Producers’ Animal Husbandry Guidelines for U.S. Egg-Laying Flocks.

The guidelines also require enrichments like scratch areas, perches, nest boxes, and dust bathing areas are provided to the hens.

A person found in violation of this law could face a fine of $100 per written notice, regardless of the number of violations identified in the notice.

You can read the full text of the bill below:

Click the square in the bottom right corner for full screen.

The Humane Society of the United States says Utah is now one of seven other states banning battery cages, adding that Utah’s roughly five million hens “will be able to run around and stretch their wings in cage-free barns.”

“This law shows how legislators, animal protections organizations and industry can find common ground in forging a more humane future,” says Josh Balk, vice president of the Farm Animal Protection campaign at the Humane Society of the United States. “This law reflects the growing concern for farm animals and how critical it is to allow them —at minimum—to be cage-free and able to engage in basic, natural behaviors.”

The Humane Society says almost 30% of the U.S. egg industry is cage-free.

Governor Cox has signed 389 bills as part of the 2021 Utah Legislative Session, including bills that:

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