Breaking! New Michigan Law Requires That Hens, Pigs & Calves Be Cage-Free Beginning In 2024

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Yesterday, Michigan became the largest egg-producing state in the nation to pass legislation requiring that laying hens must be cage-free by 2024.

Signed into law by newly-appointed Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist, Senate Bill 0174 also requires Michigan farmers to raise pigs and calves without cages.

The legislation is estimated to impact no less than 10 million egg-laying hens and preserves protections for hundreds of thousands of pigs and calves each year.

“Thanks to Michigan lawmakers, millions of animals each year will suffer less,” Leah Garcés, President of Mercy For Animals said in a statement. “No animal, whether a hen a dog or a pig, deserves to be locked up in a cage for months or years on end. We applaud Michigan leadership for its support of this critical animal protection legislation.”

California, Washington, Oregon and Rhode Island also recently passed similar legislation.

Equally important, more than 300 companies, including McDonald’s, Walmart, and Kroger, have committed to sourcing exclusively cage-free eggs.

The Michigan legislation strengthens a law passed by the state legislature more than 10 years ago that banned restrictive cages for farmed animals by 2020. Once at risk of repeal, the law now includes enrichment requirements for hens, including scratching and dustbathing areas, perches, and nest boxes.

The law also shaves off a full year from the 2025 enforcement date of last session’s version of the legislation, which governor Rick Snyder vetoed in January.

Extreme confinement of farmed animals is widely condemned by veterinarians and the animal welfare community. In the United States, most egg-laying hens suffer in battery cages, which are so small that birds are unable to spread their wings for up to two years. For virtually their entire lives, breeding sows are confined to crates so narrow that the animals cannot turn around, and calves raised for veal are confined in crates for four months at a time.

While the passing of Senate Bill 0174 marks a significant step in the right direction, WAN and Peace 4 Animals join many animal welfare organizations worldwide in advocating for a compassionate plant-based future.

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