Egg-laying Hen Confinement Standards
The act requires a farm owner or operator to confine chicken, turkey, duck, goose, or guinea fowl hens (hens) in accordance with the standards established in the act. On and after January 1, 2023, the act also prohibits a business owner or operator from selling shell eggs or egg products that are produced by egg-laying hens that were confined in a manner that conflicts with these standards. In connection with this prohibition, the act:
- Requires, by January 1, 2023, hens to be confined in an enclosure with at least one square foot of usable floor space per hen;
- Requires, by January 1, 2025, hens to be confined in a cage-free housing system with at least:
- One square foot of usable floor space per hen if the hens have unfettered access to vertical space; or
- 1.5 square feet of usable floor space per hen if the hens do not have unfettered access to vertical space;
- Deems a sale to have occurred at the location where the buyer takes physical possession of the shell egg or egg product;
- Allows a business to rely upon written certification that the shell egg or egg product did not come from hens that were confined in a manner that conflicts with the act;
- Authorizes the commissioner of agriculture to impose a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation;
- Requires the commissioner to promulgate rules to implement and enforce the act; and
- Authorizes the commissioner to use a government or private inspection process.
The act requires shell eggs and egg products to be annually certified as complying with the standards. Certification requires an inspection.
The following are exempt from the act's requirements:
- Medical research;
- Veterinary procedures;
- A state or county fair exhibition, 4-H program, or similar exhibition;
- Temporary confinement in connection with animal husbandry;
- A farm with 3,000 or fewer egg-laying hens; or
- A nonfarm business owner or operator with each location selling fewer than 25 cases of, or 30 dozen, shell eggs per week if all locations owned or operated by the business sell fewer than 100 cases of shell eggs per week.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)