Study: California animal welfare laws led to higher egg prices, lower production

A news release yesterday from Purdue University stated that, “Laws that changed animal confinement standards in California raised the price of eggs dramatically upon adoption and have kept prices higher than had the laws not been enacted, according to a Purdue University study. An analysis of the laws’ effects on egg production and prices in California could inform other states considering similar legislation.

“The 2008 Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, approved by 63 percent of California voters, requires animal producers to increase the amount of space available to animals in chicken battery cages, veal crates and sow gestation crates. Taking effect in January 2015, the law requires that confined spaces be large enough to allow animals to ‘turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs.’ The law banned production and sale of products that didn’t meet these requirements, and another law required products imported from other states follow the same rules.

Jayson Lusk, a distinguished professor and head of Purdue’s Department of Agricultural Economics, and Conner Mullally, an assistant professor in the Food and Resource Economics Department at the University of Florida, analyzed 16 years’ worth of egg production and pricing data from California and surrounding states from before and after the law went into effect. Their findings were reported in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics.”

The news update added that, “Lusk and Mullally don’t take a stance on the animal welfare law but wanted to understand what it meant in terms of production and cost for producers and consumers. They believe the findings can inform residents and lawmakers from other states that are considering laws that require larger living spaces or free-range requirements for animals.”

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