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In the United States, most laying hens are routinely subjected to cruel treatment and forced to live in such extreme confinement that they are unable to fully extend their limbs or turn around. In 2008, California took a stand against these inhumane practices by enacting the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, also known as Proposition 2, which banned the use of inordinately small “battery cages” to house laying hens. In 2010, California passed an amendment to Proposition 2, requiring all eggs sold within California, regardless of where they are produced, to comply with the new law. Other states have followed California’s lead, passing and implementing state laws that begin to offer some minimal protection to laying hens and other farm animals. The vast majority of states, however, have not followed suit and federal legislation provides abysmally little protection for these animals. This Article argues that there is an ethical obligation—and there should be a legal obligation—to ensure the humane treatment of farm animals. This Article goes on to suggest a framework for new federal legislation to govern the confinement and humane treatment of farm animals.


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8 Sep 2022
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  • Subject
    • Agriculture Law

    • Animal Law

    • Environmental Law

    • State and Local Government Law

  • Journal title
    • Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review

  • Volume
    • 43

  • Issue
    • 1

  • Pagination
    • 45

  • Date submitted

    8 September 2022