In a huge step forward for animals—and everyone who cares about them—Arizona just banned the production and sale of eggs from caged hens! The Arizona Governor’s Regulatory Review Council voted unanimously in favor of the regulations. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) estimates that once the regulations are phased in by 2025, over seven million chickens annually will be spared the misery of cage confinement.
As part of a coalition led by HSUS, Mercy For Animals helped build support for this ban alongside Animal Equality, Animal Legal Defense Fund, and others. We mobilized Arizona animal advocates to come out on behalf of chickens—and it worked! They submitted public comments in support of the regulations, which outnumbered opposing comments by a whopping 17 to one.
Once these regulations are adopted, Arizona will join California, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island in committing to banning cages for hens.
The Cruelty of Cages
Caging hens is one of the most egregious forms of extreme confinement for farmed animals, restricting them from engaging in many vital natural behaviors, such as nesting, perching, and dustbathing. In standard “battery” cages, these birds are packed together so tightly that they can’t even spread their wings. A Mercy For Animals investigator who went undercover into a U.S. egg farm described hundreds of thousands of birds spending nearly their entire lives with barely enough room to take a step. Dr. Michael Appleby, one of the world’s leading poultry welfare experts, wrote:
Battery cages present inherent animal welfare problems, most notably by their small size and barren conditions. Hens are unable to engage in many of their natural behaviors and endure high levels of stress and frustration.
We envision a world in which we nourish ourselves with food that is kind to animals and sustainable for the planet and all who share it. In the meantime, part of our work involves reducing suffering for farmed animals who are trapped in the current food system. While cage-free policies are far from perfect, they alleviate some of the suffering laying hens endure. Learn more about our policy work!