With California’s impending egg laws taking effect in January, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) released new polling indicating strong statewide support among Californians of all demographic groups and regions for a conversion to cage-free egg production.
Voters approved Proposition 2 by a vote of 63.5 percent to 36.5 percent in November 2008.
The poll suggests that support for Proposition 2 and a closely related law enacted in 2010 by the legislature has grown stronger and broader:
• By more than an 8-to-1 margin (78% to 9%), Californians believe it’s more humane to raise hens in cage-free environments than to confine them in cages;
• By a nearly 9-to-1 margin (62% to 7%), Californians would be more likely to “frequent a food business if it had a policy of selling exclusively cage-free eggs”;
• By a more than 7-to-1 margin (79% to 11%), Californians believe the more than six years the state’s egg producers have had since the passage of Proposition 2 to change their production systems was “a reasonable amount of time” for them to make the shift, and
• 58% of Californians would be willing to pay more for eggs to ensure they came from cage-free hens, more than twice the number of those (26%) who wouldn’t.
As a result of California’s AB 1437, starting in January, all shell (whole) eggs sold in California must be produced in compliance with the standards for farm animal welfare set forth in Proposition 2: hens must have enough space to turn around freely, lie down, stand up and fully extend their limbs. In addition to AB 1437, all eggs sold in California must also be consistent with the California Department of Food & Agriculture’s egg safety rules, which have been in effect for decades, but were most recently amended in 2012. These two legal requirements are separate, and retailers must ensure their operations are compliant with both the egg safety regulations and the humane requirements of AB 1437.
The survey of 625 California adults statewide was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. of Washington, D.C. from December 10 through December 16, 2014. Margin for error is plus or minus 4%.