Edging Away from Cruel Eggs Part 4—California, and now Massachusetts!

Battery Cages (Maqi-commonswiki)
Read "Edging Away from Cruel Eggs: Part 1 - California’s Prop 2"

Read "Edging Away From Cruel Eggs: Part 2—Slogging Toward Enactment"

Read "Edging Away from Cruel Eggs – Part 3: Strange Coop-Fellows"

On Election Day, 2016 a fantastic new law was approved by voters and practically nobody noticed!  Question 3 was approved by 78% of Massachusetts voters--when enacted it will “prohibit any farm owner or operator from knowingly confining any breeding pig, calf raised for veal, or egg-laying hen in a way that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending its limbs, or turning around freely.”  With that vote, which was worded very much like California’s Proposition 2, the citizens of Massachusetts mandated that certain cruel animal husbandry practices, including battery cages for laying hens, will no longer be allowed.  The measure also bans the sale in Massachusetts of cruelly produced eggs and meat from other states.  The Massachusetts law will go into effect in 2022 and prior to that it will no doubt be challenged just as thoroughly as was the California law.  

In parts One, Two and Three of “Edging Away from Cruel Eggs” I talked about the inherent cruelty of battery cages for laying hens, how California voters decided to ban them, and how that ban was subjected to numerous legal challenges by the egg lobby and other interests.

The final challenge hanging over the California law was filed in 2014.  The plaintiffs were the states of Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Kentucky, represented by their attorneys general, and Iowa, represented by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.  In their challenge, they argued that the California law protecting hens was unconstitutional because in stipulating that cruelly produced eggs from other states could not be sold in California, it interfered with interstate commerce and would unjustly harm the citizens of those states—each of the plaintiff states was an agricultural state that produced lots of eggs.

RIP Bailey the Labrador Retriever 2000 - 2017

Those of you who have been reading the blog for a while know about Bailey, my friend, companion, and guardian of the Hipster Hens.  I'm sorry to report that Bailey passed away this morning due to a rapidly growing abdominal tumor.  She had a good and long life - sixteen years old is pretty phenomenal for a Labrador retriever.  And she certainly enriched my life - I'll miss her a lot.  Bailey is unique in that she chose us to be her family rather than us choosing her to be our dog.  I wrote a post about that which I'm linking here if you would like to take a look.  My wife Kathy recently wrote a booklet about Bailey's life that I think makes an excellent pictorial epitaph, and I'm sharing it here.

"Meet the Flock" Roundup – November & December, 2016

Meet Marissa the Cream Legbar. I captured this picture of Marissa in August—about the time she started laying eggs. Since then, Marissa has laid a pretty little blue-green pullet egg almost every day, and each egg is incrementally larger than the previous one. My older hens have scaled waaay back on egg production lately, since they’ve started their fall molt. So many days the four eggs I get from my four young Legbar hens outnumber the eggs I get from the rest of the flock!

Here's one more picture of Marissa. This is a picture of Marissa as a teenager - taken in late May.

Here's another picture of Marissa the Cream Legbar back in late April when she was a mere three weeks old and had just grown her first set of feathers.

Meet Mary, the diminutive, free-spirited, golden Campine hen. Mary is always the first chicken out of the coop in the morning when the doors swing open. She would much rather be free-ranging outdoors than cooped up in the coop. I think there’s more wild jungle fowl blood flowing through Mary’s veins than in my other chickens. She’s definitely not one of those chickens that tolerates being picked up and cuddled. So I give her as much freedom as I can give a domestic chicken and in return she gives me an ample supply of those nice little white eggs.

One more picture of Mary the Campine. This is her baby picture from the spring of 2013.

Here's an August picture of Nicky the pretty Cream Legbar pullet. Nicky's one of the four Legbar babies who hatched this past spring. All four Legbars are a little skittish and standoffish - maybe because they had a real hen for a mom and imprinted on her rather than being raised under heat lamps and imprinting on me. They are all slowly becoming tamer and less nervous around me and Nicky is the most social. She will actually stand on my lap and eat treats out of my hand now. Soon as the treats are gone, though, so is she!

Here's another pic of Nicky - shot at the same time as last week’s picture. In this shot she's doing her "fierce predator" routine--silently working her way through the foliage & preying on unsuspecting bugs and worms.

One final picture of Nicky the Legbar Chicky! This was shot in May when Nicky was about five weeks old. A teenager!

Meet Bailey, the sweet sixteen-year-old Labrador retriever. Oh, wait! Bailey appears to be a non-chicken! Yup - she is not a chicken, but it's high time she got her picture posted considering her status as the Hipster Hen Chicken Ranch Official Dog. I've mentioned Bailey in a couple posts, and featured her fascinating back-story in “A Dog Story.”

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