Progress! Michigan Enacts Law Eliminating Cages for Hens

Breaking news! Today, Michigan enacted into law a bill that will reduce suffering for at least 10 million egg-laying hens and preserves protections for hundreds of thousands of pigs and calves each year.

The legislation, Senate bill 174, requires all eggs sold in Michigan to come from hens raised in cage-free conditions by December 31, 2024. This means that all Michigan farms—and all out-of-state farms that sell eggs to Michigan—must transition to cage-free conditions. Mercy For Animals is proud to have been part of the powerful coalition of animal organizations and small family farms that drove this legislation forward.

California, Washington, Massachusetts, and Oregon recently enacted similar laws, and other states are considering such legislation. Given Michigan’s powerful animal agriculture lobby, enactment of this law in the state is particularly pivotal.

We commend the Michigan legislature for passing the bill. On top of legislative success, the cage-free movement has achieved much corporate headway. More than ​300 companies​, including McDonald’s, Walmart, and Kroger, have committed to sourcing only cage-free eggs. Mercy For Animals led the charge on many of these commitments.

Perhaps more exciting than the language of the new law itself is the law’s history. Back in 2009, Michigan passed a law that would have banned restrictive cages for farmed animals by 2020, but did not include a sales ban. But last year, as that effective date loomed, special interest groups and large industrial farming corporations attempted to repeal the law in its entirety.

Our coalition turned the dangerous proposal into a bill that strengthened the 2009 law, rather than repeal it, by adding enrichment requirements for hens, including scratching and dustbathing areas, perches, and nest boxes, by October 2025. But outgoing governor Rick Snyder vetoed that bill in January.

This year, the coalition stepped up again and managed to shave nearly a full year off the effective date of last year’s vetoed bill: All the protections for hens will take effect in 2024. Also, the protections for pigs and calves have been preserved. The success of this legislation is thanks in large part not just to our coalition but to thousands of Michigan advocates who raised their voices by contacting their representatives and urging support.

Mercy For Animals is committed to reducing the suffering and ending the exploitation of animals raised for food. Without you, we might still be fighting for those commonsense protections in Michigan.

Be sure you are ​signed up for our emails​ so that you can raise your voice with us when similar policies are introduced where you live. Your voice matters.