Great news! This week Rhode Island became the seventh state to phase out the use of battery cages and begin requiring cage-free conditions for the state’s egg-laying hens.
After a years-long campaign championed by state representative Pat Serpa and local animal advocates who testified, made calls, and knocked on doors, House bill 7456 was overwhelmingly approved by lawmakers last month, and Governor Raimondo signed the measure into law this week.
Numerous Mercy For Animals investigations have exposed the horrific suffering caused by battery cages, small wire devices where each hen spends her entire life on floor space smaller than the surface of an iPad. These cages are so cruel that they are already outlawed in California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, and the entire European Union, while more than 300 major food providers have pledged to remove eggs from battery-caged hens from their supply chains.
Rhode Island first became a farmed animal welfare leader in 2012 when the state banned gestation crates used to confine mother pigs and veal crates used to confine baby calves. Yet until now, the state has denied the same basic protection to egg-laying hens, condemning tens of thousands of birds each year to conditions that would merit criminal charges if inflicted on another animal. MFA heartily congratulates Rhode Island lawmakers for sending an important message—that all animals deserve compassion and protection under the law.
Unfortunately, the law is not perfect. It gives producers until 2026 to comply, a time frame that MFA considers unjustifiably long. We urge lawmakers to shorten this time frame, and we call on Little Rhody Foods, the last egg producer in the state that still confines hens in cages, to stop doing so at once.
MFA is committed to preventing cruelty to farmed animals, including by promoting more compassionate laws and policies. But the most effective way we can stop cruelty is simply not to pay for it. Please visit ChooseVeg.com to learn how to move toward a compassionate plant-based diet.