ST. LOUIS — Missouri has joined a number of states in an attempt to change laws in California and Massachusetts that focus on animal welfare requirements for farmers.
Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin are seeking to bring about change to the California and Massachusetts laws, claiming that local farmers and consumers will suffer due to the strict requirements of these two states.
According to California law, farmers had to comply with new requirements by 2015 that would ensure that caged hens be given enough space to lie down, stand up, turn and stretch their limbs out. In 2010, state legislators expanded the reach of the law, which prohibits the sale of eggs that were not raised with California standards.
California voters are pushing for more extreme laws, which will require that all eggs sold within the state are sourced from cage-free hens by the year 2022, while simultaneously banning the sale of veal and pork meat that has not been raised with the new requirements.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts voters approved a new minimum living space requirement for pigs and calves in 2016, which also pushes for the sale of only cage-free eggs by 2022.
The lawsuits filed against California and Massachusetts claim that the rules are a violation of the commerce clause in the U.S. Constitution as multiple states are being expected to comply with another state's requirements.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 7 declined to become involved in the legal dispute.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said this was a disappointment.
"I am disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear this case," Schmitt told the St. Louis Record. "My office will continue to fight for Missouri consumers and farmers and protect them from burdensome regulations.”