Arizona Bill Would Ensure All Eggs Sold In State Come From Cage-Free Hens

By Jill Ryan
Published: Tuesday, February 16, 2021 - 10:41am
Updated: Monday, April 19, 2021 - 1:34pm

State lawmakers are moving to ensure that all eggs sold in Arizona come from cage-free hens. 

Republican Rep. John Kavanagh proposed a bill, HB 2525, that would affect operations that produce more than 3,000 eggs a year. He said this is about stopping animal cruelty. 

"Granted, they don't have very high levels of sentient awareness. But they feel pain. And they're prevented from engaging in natural instinctive behaviors, even to the point of spreading their wings or being able to sit down when they lay their eggs," Kavanagh said. 

hickmans family farms egg ranch chicken sign
Casey Kuhn/KJZZ
Hickman's Family Farms in Buckeye.

Support from the owners of Hickman's Family Farms, the state's largest egg producer, was crucial to the bill advancing. However, the bill’s support was not necessarily about animal welfare. Instead, it's because the owners figure that what's in this bill is less onerous than an initiative that could get on the 2022 ballot. That measure being pushed by World Animal Protection that not only requires cage-free systems by May 2023 but also makes violation of that a crime.

Company President Glenn Hickman said he would rather have the legislation that gives him until 2025 to come into compliance, with no criminal penalties.

Company lobbyist Joe Siig said he has been assured by World Animal Protection that it will not pursue its initiative if this proposal is signed into law.

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