The nation is able to panic over all types of shortages, however Massachusetts has one thing particular to worry: an egg scarcity. It’s so unhealthy a risk that some name it an “Egg Armageddon.”
And in contrast to among the shortages inflicting empty cabinets across the nation, the potential for an egg scarcity has Massachusetts politicians taking it significantly.
All this stems from the favored 2016 poll measure that some noticed as supportive of meals security by mandating house necessities for sure cattle.
Egg-laying hens obtained 1 and 1/2 sq. ft of ground house beneath the 2016 legislation that was to change into efficient this month as laws drafted by Massachusetts Legal professional Common Maura Healey went reside.
However throughout the summer time, it grew to become clear that few egg producers may meet the Massachusetts commonplace. State lawmakers jumped in with one other legislation to cut back the minimal required for every laying hen to 1 sq. foot.
The change would deliver Massachusetts consistent with different states, deliver extra egg producers beneath the usual, and assist alleviate an egg scarcity.
Massachusetts voters in 2016 handed the legislation for pigs, calves, and laying hens. It required that birds be capable of unfold each wings with out touching the edges of enclosures or have 1.5 sq. ft of usable ground house for every hen. Laws had been set to take impact this month, with the legislation’s efficient date scheduled for Jan. 1, 2022.
Senate Invoice (SB) 2470 goes by way of the Massachusetts Legislature, which may also take impact on Jan. 1, 2022. It modifications the house requirement to:
“1 sq. foot of usable ground house per hen in multi-tiered aviaries, partially-slatted cage-free housing methods, or another cage-free housing system that gives hens with unfettered entry to vertical house. . .”
Massachusetts has to decide on. The present laws and legal guidelines will imply a scarcity of eggs as a result of there will likely be few egg producers for the state. The reason being their commonplace is out of sync with different states.
One of many largest egg producers serving Massachusetts is Hillandale Farms in close by Connecticut. It’s recognized for investments in cage-free aviaries beneath the 1-foot commonplace. Extra vertical aviaries are extra frequent now to permit birds to fly upward, perch and roost.
The marketing campaign director for the 2016 poll measure says the brand new invoice is per the initiative as a result of voters supported giving hens sufficient house to face up, flip round, and lay down.
Massachusetts is among the many states which have required some type of cage-free housing methods to exchange so-called battery cages. The European Union has banned battery cages since 2012. These methods trigger welfare issues for hens.
Battery cages on common present solely 67 sq. inches of house per hen, concerning the measurement and form of a desk drawer — not sufficient house to totally open wings, not to mention to run, or bounce. Layer hens — which means chickens who lay eggs — are stored in these cages for the entire length of their lives, the place they lay roughly an egg per day till they’re despatched to the slaughterhouse.
Battery cages are primarily designed to realize excessive density, by being stacked on high of each other. A single egg-producing farm could confine 1000’s of hens at a time in these stacked cages.
Whereas cage-free housing is on the rise, battery cages in 2020 continued to carry nearly 74 % of the nationwide layer hen flock, or about 243 million birds.
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